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Title: The Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus

Author: Ammianus Marcellinus

Translator: C. D. Yonge

Release Date: April 22, 2009 [EBook #28587]

Language: English

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  C.D. YONGE, M.A.




  [_Reprinted from Stereotype plates._]


Of Ammianus Marcellinus, the writer of the following History, we know
very little more than what can be collected from that portion of it
which remains to us. From that source we learn that he was a native of
Antioch, and a soldier; being one of the _prefectores domestici_--the
body-guard of the emperor, into which none but men of noble birth were
admitted. He was on the staff of Ursicinus, whom he attended in several
of his expeditions; and he bore a share in the campaigns which Julian
made against the Persians. After that time he never mentions himself,
and we are ignorant when he quitted the service and retired to Rome, in
which city he composed his History. We know not when he was born, or
when he died, except that from one or two incidental passages in his
work it is plain that he lived nearly to the end of the fourth century:
and it is even uncertain whether he was a Christian or a Pagan; though
the general belief is, that he adhered to the religion of the ancient
Romans, without, however, permitting it to lead him even to speak
disrespectfully of Christians or Christianity.

His History, which he divided into thirty-one books (of which the first
thirteen are lost, while the text of those which remain is in some
places imperfect), began with the accession of Nerva, A.D. 96, where
Tacitus and Suetonius end, and was continued to the death of Valens,
A.D. 378, a period of 282 years. And there is probably no work as to the
intrinsic value of which there is so little difference of opinion.
Gibbon bears repeated testimony to his accuracy, fidelity, and
impartiality, and quotes him extensively. In losing his aid after A.D.
378, he says, "It is not without sincere regret that I must now take
leave of an accurate and faithful guide, who has composed the history of
his own times without indulging the prejudices and passions which
usually affect the mind of a contemporary." Professor Ramsay (in Smith's
Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography) says, "We are indebted to him
for a knowledge of many important facts not elsewhere recorded, and for
much valuable insight into the modes of thought and the general tone of
public feeling prevalent in his day. Nearly all the statements admitted
appear to be founded upon his own observations, or upon the information
derived from trustworthy eye-witnesses. A considerable number of
dissertations and digressions are introduced, many of them highly
interesting and valuable. Such are his notices of the institutions and
manners of the Saracens (xiv. 4), of the Scythians and Sarmatians (xvii.
12), of the Huns and Alani (xxxi. 2), of the Egyptians and their country
(xxii. 6, 14-16), and his geographical discussions upon Gaul (xv. 9),
the Pontus (xxii. 8), and Thrace (xxvii. 4). Less legitimate and less
judicious are his geological speculations upon earthquakes (xvii. 7),
his astronomical inquiries into eclipses (xx. 3), comets (xxv. 10), and
the regulation of the calendar (xxvi. 1); his medical researches into
the origin of epidemics (xix. 4); his zoological theory on the
destruction of lions by mosquitos (xviii. 7), and his horticultural
essay on the impregnation of palms (xxiv. 3). In addition to industry in
research and honesty of purpose, he was gifted with a large measure of
strong common sense, which enabled him in many points to rise superior
to the prejudices of his day, and with a clear-sighted independence of
spirit which prevented him from being dazzled or over-awed by the
brilliancy and the terrors which enveloped the imperial throne. But
although sufficiently acute in detecting and exposing the follies of
others, and especially in ridiculing the absurdities of popular
superstition, Ammianus did not entirely escape the contagion. The
general and deep-seated belief in magic spells, omens, prodigies, and
oracles, which appears to have gained additional strength upon the first
introduction of Christianity, evidently exercised no small influence
over his mind. The old legends and doctrines of the pagan creed, and the
subtle mysticism which philosophers pretended to discover lurking below,
when mixed up with the pure and simple but startling tenets of the new
faith, formed a confused mass which few intellects could reduce to order
and harmony."

The vices of our author's style, and his ambitious affectation of
ornament, are condemned by most critics; but some of the points which
strike a modern reader as defects evidently arise from the alteration
which the Latin language had already undergone since the days of Livy.
His great value, however, consists in the facts he has made known to us,
and is quite independent of the style or language in which he has
conveyed that knowledge, of which without him we should have been nearly

The present translation has been made from Wagner and Erfurdt's edition,
published at Leipzig in 1808, and their division of chapters into short
paragraphs has been followed.

_Feb._ 1862.





     I. The cruelty of the Cæsar Gallus.--II. The incursions of the
     Isaurians.--III. The unsuccessful plans of the Persians.--IV. The
     invasion of the Saracens, and the manners of that people.--V. The
     punishment of the adherents of Magnentius.--VI. The vices of the
     senate and people of Rome.--VII. The ferocity and inhumanity of the
     Cæsar Gallus.--VIII. A description of the provinces of the
     East.--IX. About the Cæsar Constantius Gallus.--X. The Emperor
     Constantius grants the Allemanni peace at their request.--XI. The
     Cæsar Constantius Gallus is sent for by the Emperor Constantius,
     and beheaded.


A.D. 353.

§ 1. After the events of an expedition full of almost insuperable
difficulties, while the spirits of all parties in the state, broken by
the variety of their dangers and toils, were still enfeebled; while the
clang of trumpets was ringing in men's ears, and the troops were still
distributed in their winter quarters, the storms of angry fortune
surrounded the commonwealth with fresh dangers through the manifold and
terrible atrocities of Cæsar Gallus:[1] who, when just entering into the
prime of life, having been raised with unexpected honour from the
lowest depth of misery to the highest rank, exceeded all the legitimate
bounds of the power conferred on him, and with preposterous violence
threw everything into confusion. For by his near relationship to the
royal family, and his connection with the name of Constantine, he was so
inflated with pride, that if he had had more power, he would, as it
seemed, have ventured to attack even the author of his prosperity.

2. His wife added fuel to his natural ferocity; she was a woman
immoderately proud of her sisterly relationship to Augustus, and had
been formerly given in marriage by the elder Constantine to King
Hannibalianus,[2] his brother's son. She was an incarnate fury: never
weary of inflaming his savage temper, thirsting for human blood as
insatiably as her husband. The pair, in process of time, becoming more
skilful in the infliction of suffering, employed a gang of underhand and
crafty talebearers, accustomed in their wickedness to make random
additions to their discoveries, which consisted in general of such
falsehoods as they themselves delighted in; and these men loaded the
innocent with calumnies, charging them with aiming at kingly power, or
with practising infamous acts of magic.

3. And among his less remarkable atrocities, when his power had gone
beyond the bounds of moderate crimes, was conspicuous the horrible and
sudden death of a certain noble citizen of Alexandria, named Clematius.
His mother-in-law, having conceived a passion for him, could not prevail
on him to gratify it; and in consequence, as was reported, she, having
obtained an introduction by a secret door into the palace, won over the
queen by the present of a costly necklace, and procured a fatal warrant
to be sent to Honoratus, at that time count-governor of the East, in
compliance with which Clematius was put to death, a man wholly innocent
of any kind of wickedness, without being permitted to say a word in his

4. After this iniquitous transaction, which struck others also with fear
lest they should meet with similar treatment, as if cruelty had now
obtained a licence, many were condemned on mere vague suspicion; of whom
some were put to death, others were punished by the confiscation of
their property, and driven forth as exiles from their homes, so that
having nothing left but their tears and complaints, they were reduced to
live on the contributions of their friends; and many opulent and famous
houses were shut up, the old constitutional and just authority being
changed into a government at the will of a bloodthirsty tyrant.

5. Nor amid these manifold atrocities was any testimony of an accuser,
not even of a suborned one, sought for, in order to give at least an
appearance of these crimes being committed according to law and statute,
as very commonly even the most cruel princes have done: but whatever
suited the implacable temper of Cæsar was instantly accomplished in
haste, as if its accordance with human and divine law had been well

6. After these deeds a fresh device was adopted, and a body of obscure
men, such as, by reason of the meanness of their condition, were little
likely to excite suspicion, were sent through all the districts of
Antioch, to collect reports, and to bring news of whatever they might
hear. They, travelling about, and concealing their object, joined
clandestinely in the conversational circles of honourable men, and also
in disguise obtained entrance into the houses of the rich. When they
returned they were secretly admitted by back doors into the palace, and
then reported all that they had been able to hear or to collect; taking
care with an unanimous kind of conspiracy to invent many things, and to
exaggerate for the worse all they really knew; at the same time
suppressing any praises of Cæsar which had come to their ears, although
these were wrung from many, against their consciences, by the dread of
impending evils.

7. And it had happened sometimes that, if in his secret chamber, when no
domestic servant was by, the master of the house had whispered anything
into his wife's ear, the very next day, as if those renowned seers of
old, Amphiaraus or Marcius, had been at hand to report it, the emperor
was informed of what had been said; so that even the walls of a man's
secret chamber, the only witnesses to his language, were viewed with

8. And Cæsar's fixed resolution to inquire into these and other similar
occurrences was increased by the queen, who constantly stimulated his
desire, and was driving on the fortunes of her husband to headlong
destruction, while she ought rather, by giving him useful advice, to
have led him back into the paths of truth and mercy, by feminine
gentleness, as, in recounting the acts of the Gordiani, we have related
to have been done by the wife of that truculent emperor Maximinus.

9. At last, by an unsurpassed and most pernicious baseness, Gallus
ventured on adopting a course of fearful wickedness, which indeed
Gallienus, to his own exceeding infamy, is said formerly to have tried
at Rome; and, taking with him a few followers secretly armed, he used to
rove in the evening through the streets and among the shops, making
inquiries in the Greek language, in which he was well skilled, what were
the feelings of individuals towards Cæsar. And he used to do this boldly
in the city, where the brillancy of the lamps at night often equalled
the light of day. At last, being often recognized, and considering that
if he went out in this way he should be known, he took care never to go
out except openly in broad daylight, to transact whatever business which
he thought of serious importance. And these things caused bitter though
secret lamentation, and discontent to many.

10. But at that time Thalassius was the present prefect[3] of the
palace, a man of an arrogant temper; and he, perceiving that the hasty
fury of Gallus gradually increased to the danger of many of the
citizens, did not mollify it by either delay or wise counsels, as men in
high office have very often pacified the anger of their princes; but by
untimely opposition and reproof, did often excite him the more to
frenzy; often also informing Augustus of his actions, and that too with
exaggeration, and taking care, I know not with what intention, that what
he did should not be unknown to the emperor. And at this Cæsar soon
became more vehemently exasperated, and, as if raising more on high than
ever the standard of his contumacy, without any regard to the safety of
others or of himself, he bore himself onwards like a rapid torrent, with
an impetuosity which would listen to no reason, to sweep away all the
obstacles which opposed his will.


§ 1. Nor indeed was the East the only quarter which this plague affected
with its various disasters. For the Isaurians also, a people who were
accustomed to frequent alternations of peace, and of turbulence which
threw everything into confusion with sudden outbreaks--impunity having
fostered their growing audacity and encouraged it to evil--broke out in
a formidable war. Being especially excited, as they gave out by this
indignity, that some of their allies, having been taken prisoners, were
in an unprecedented manner exposed to wild beasts, and in the games of
the amphitheatre, at Iconium, a town of Pisidia.

2. And as Cicero[4] says, that "even wild beasts, when reminded by
hunger, generally return to that place where they have been fed before."
So they all, descending like a whirlwind from their high and pathless
mountains, came into the districts bordering on the sea: in which hiding
themselves in roads full of lurking-places, and in defiles, when the
long nights were approaching, the moon being at that time new, and so
not yet giving her full light, they lay wait for the sailors; and when
they perceived that they were wrapped in sleep, they, crawling on their
hands and feet along the cables which held the anchors, and raising
themselves up by them, swung themselves into the boats, and so came
upon the crews unexpectedly, and, their natural ferocity being inflamed
by covetousness, they spared not even those who offered no resistance,
but slew them all, and carried off a splendid booty with no more trouble
than if it had been valueless.

3. This conduct did not last long, for when the deaths of the crews thus
plundered and slaughtered became known, no one afterwards brought a
vessel to the stations on that coast; but, avoiding them as they would
have avoided the deadly precipices of Sciron,[5] they sailed on, without
halting, to the shores of Cyprus, which lie opposite to the rocks of

4. Therefore as time went on, and no foreign vessels went there any
more, they quitted the sea-coast, and betook themselves to Lycaonia, a
country which lies on the borders of Isauria. And there, occupying the
roads with thick barricades, they sought a living by plundering the
inhabitants of the district, as well as travellers. These outrages
aroused the soldiers who were dispersed among the many municipal towns
and forts which lie on the borders. And they, endeavouring to the utmost
of their strength to repel these banditti, who were spreading every day
more widely, sometimes in solid bodies, at others in small straggling
parties, were overcome by their vast numbers.

5. Since the Isaurians, having been born and brought up amid the
entangled defiles of lofty mountains, could bound over them as over
plain and easy paths, and attacked all who came in their way with
missiles from a distance, terrifying them at the same time with savage

6. And very often our infantry were compelled in pursuit of them to
climb lofty crags, and, when their feet slipped, to catch hold of the
shrubs and briars to raise themselves to the summits; without ever being
able to deploy into battle array, by reason of the narrow and difficult
nature of the ground, nor even to stand firm; while their enemy running
round in every direction hurled down upon them fragments of rock from
above till they retired down the declivities with great danger. Or
else, sometimes, in the last necessity fighting bravely, they were
overwhelmed with fragments of immense bulk and weight.

7. On this account they subsequently were forced to observe more
caution, and whenever the plunderers began to retire to the high ground,
our soldiers yielded to the unfavourable character of the country and
retired. But whenever they could be met with in the plain, which often
happened, then charging them without giving them time to combine their
strength, or even to brandish the javelins of which they always carried
two or three, they slaughtered them like defenceless sheep.

8. So that these banditti, conceiving a fear of Lycaonia, which is for
the most part a champaign country, since they had learnt by repeated
proofs that they were unequal to our troops in a pitched battle, betook
themselves by unfrequented tracks to Pamphylia. This district had long
been free from the evils of war, but nevertheless had been fortified in
all quarters by strong forts and garrisons, from the dread entertained
by the people of rapine and slaughter, since soldiers were scattered
over all the neighbouring districts.

9. Therefore hastening with all speed, in order by their exceeding
celerity of movement to anticipate all rumour of their motions, trusting
to their strength and activity of body, they travelled by winding roads
until they reached the high ground on the tops of the mountains, the
steepness of which delayed their march more than they had expected. And
when at last, having surmounted all the difficulties of the mountains,
they came to the precipitous banks of the Melas, a deep river and one
full of dangerous currents, which winds round the district, protecting
the inhabitants like a wall, the night which had overtaken them
increased their fears, so that they halted for a while awaiting the
daylight. For they expected to be able to cross without hindrance, and
then, in consequence of the suddenness of their inroad, to be able to
ravage all the country around; but they had incurred great toil to no

10. For when the sun rose they were prevented from crossing by the size
of the river, which though narrow was very deep. And while they were
searching for some fishing-boats, or preparing to commit themselves to
the stream on rafts hastily put together, the legions which at that
time were wintering about Side, came down upon them with great speed and
impetuosity; and having pitched their standards close to the bank with a
view to an immediate battle, they packed their shields together before
them in a most skilful manner, and without any difficulty slew some of
the banditti, who either trusted to their swimming, or who tried to
cross the river unperceived in barks made of the trunks of trees
hollowed out.

11. And the Isaurians having tried many devices to obtain success in a
regular battle, and having failed in everything, being repulsed in great
consternation, and with great vigour on the part of the legions, and
being uncertain which way to go, came near the town of Laranda. And
there, after they had refreshed themselves with food and rest, and
recovered from their fears, they attacked several wealthy towns; but
being presently scared by the support given to the citizens by some
squadrons of horse which happened to be at hand, and which they would
not venture to resist in the extensive plains, they retreated, and
retracing their steps summoned all the flower of their youth which had
been left at home to join them.

12. And as they were oppressed with severe famine, they made for a place
called Palea, standing on the sea-shore, and fortified with a strong
wall; where even to this day supplies are usually kept in store, to be
distributed to the armies which defend the frontier of Isauria.

13. Therefore they encamped around this fortress for three days and
three nights, and as the steepness of the ground on which it stood
prevented any attempt to storm it without the most deadly peril, and as
it was impossible to effect anything by mines, and no other manoeuvres
such as are employed in sieges availed anything, they retired much
dejected, being compelled by the necessities of their situation to
undertake some enterprise, even if it should be greater than their
strength was equal to.

14. Then giving way to greater fury than ever, being inflamed both by
despair and hunger, and their strength increased by their unrestrainable
ardour, they directed their efforts to destroy the city of Seleucia, the
metropolis of the province, which was defended by Count Castucius, whose
legions were inured to every kind of military service.

15. The commanders of the garrison being forewarned of their approach
by their own trusty scouts, having, according to custom, given, out the
watchword to the troops, led forth all their forces in a rapid sally,
and having with great activity passed the bridge over the river
Calicadnus, the mighty waters of which wash the turrets of the walls,
they drew out their men as if prepared for battle. But as yet no man
left the ranks, and the army was not allowed to engage; for the band of
the Isaurians was dreaded, inasmuch as they were desperate with rage,
and superior in number, and likely to rush upon the arms of the legions
without any regard to their lives. Therefore as soon as the army was
beheld at a distance, and the music of the trumpeters was heard, the
banditti halted and stood still for a while, brandishing their
threatening swords, and after a time they marched on slowly. And when
the steady Roman soldiery began to deploy, preparing to encounter them,
beating their shields with their spears (a custom which rouses the fury
of the combatants, and strikes terror into their enemies), they filled
the front ranks of the Isaurians with consternation. But as the troops
were pressing forward eagerly to the combat their generals recalled
them, thinking it inopportune to enter upon a contest of doubtful issue,
when their walls were not far distant, under protection of which the
safety of the whole army could be placed on a solid foundation.

16. Therefore the soldiers were brought back inside the walls in
accordance with this resolution, and all the approaches and gates were
strongly barred; and the men were placed on the battlements and
bulwarks, having vast stones and weapons of all kinds piled close at
hand, so that if any one forced his way inside he might be overwhelmed
with a multitude of missiles and stones.

17. But those who were shut up in the walls were at the same time
greatly afflicted, because the Isaurians having taken some vessels which
were conveying grain down the river, were well provided with abundance
of food, while they themselves, having almost consumed the usual stores
of food, were in a state of alarm dreading the fatal agonies of
approaching famine. When the news of this distress got abroad, and when
repeated messages to this effect had moved Gallus Cæsar, because the
master of the horse was kept away longer than usual at that season,
Nebridius the count of the East was ordered to collect a military force
from all quarters, and hastened forward with exceeding zeal to deliver
the city, so wealthy and important, from such a peril. And when this was
known the banditti retired, without having performed any memorable
exploit, and dispersing, according to their wont, they sought the
trackless recesses of the lofty mountains.


§ 1. While affairs were in this state in Isauria, and while the king of
Persia was involved in wars upon his frontier, repulsing from his
borders a set of ferocious tribes which, being full of fickleness, were
continually either attacking him in a hostile manner, or, as often
happens, aiding him when he turned his arms against us, a certain noble,
by name Nohodares, having been appointed to invade Mesopotamia, whenever
occasion might serve, was anxiously exploring our territories with a
view to some sudden incursion, if he could anywhere find an opportunity.

2. And because since every part of Mesopotamia is accustomed to be
disturbed continually, the lands were protected by frequent barriers,
and military stations in the rural districts, Nohodares, having directed
his march to the left, had occupied the most remote parts of the
Osdroene, having devised a novel plan of operations which had never
hitherto been tried. And if he had succeeded he would have laid waste
the whole country like a thunderbolt.

3. Now the plan which he had conceived was of this kind. There is a town
in Anthemusia called Batne, built by the ancient Macedonians, a short
distance from the river Euphrates, thickly peopled by wealthy merchants.
To this city, about the beginning of the month of September, a great
multitude of all ranks throng to a fair, in order to buy the wares which
the Indians and Chinese send thither, and many other articles which are
usually brought to this fair by land and sea.

4. The leader before named, preparing to invade this district on the
days set apart for this solemnity, marching through the deserts and
along the grassy banks of the river Abora, was betrayed by information
given by some of his own men, who being alarmed at the discovery of
certain crimes which they had committed, deserted to the Roman
garrisons, and accordingly he retired again without having accomplished
anything; and after that remained quiet without undertaking any further


§ 1. At this time also the Saracens, a race whom it is never desirable
to have either for friends or enemies, ranging up and down the country,
if ever they found anything, plundered it in a moment, like rapacious
hawks who, if from on high they behold any prey, carry it off with rapid
swoop, or, if they fail in their attempt, do not tarry.

2. And although, in recounting the career of the Prince Marcus, and once
or twice subsequently, I remember having discussed the manners of this
people, nevertheless I will now briefly enumerate a few more particulars
concerning them.

3. Among these tribes, whose primary origin is derived from the
cataracts of the Nile and the borders of the Blemmyæ, all the men are
warriors of equal rank; half naked, clad in coloured cloaks down to the
waist, overrunning different countries, with the aid of swift and active
horses and speedy camels, alike in times of peace and war. Nor does any
member of their tribes ever take plough in hand or cultivate a tree, or
seek food by the tillage of the land; but they are perpetually wandering
over various and extensive districts, having no home, no fixed abode or
laws; nor can they endure to remain long in the same climate, no one
district or country pleasing them for a continuance.

4. Their life is one continued wandering; their wives are hired, on
special covenant, for a fixed time; and that there may be some
appearance of marriage in the business, the intended wife, under the
name of a dowry, offers a spear and a tent to her husband, with a right
to quit him after a fixed day, if she should choose to do so. And it is
inconceivable with what eagerness the individuals of both sexes give
themselves up to matrimonial pleasures.

5. But as long as they live they wander about with such extensive and
perpetual migrations, that the woman is married in one place, brings
forth her children in another, and rears them at a distance from either
place, no opportunity of remaining quiet being ever granted to her.

6. They all live on venison, and are further supported on a great
abundance of milk, and on many kinds of herbs, and on whatever birds
they can catch by fowling. And we have seen a great many of them wholly
ignorant of the use of either corn or wine.

7. So much for this most mischievous nation. Now let us return to the
subject we originally proposed to ourselves.


§ 1. While these events were taking place in the East, Constantius was
passing the winter at Arles; and after an exhibition of games in the
theatre and in the circus, which were displayed with most sumptuous
magnificence, on the tenth of October, the day which completed the
thirtieth year of his reign, he began to give the reins more freely to
his insolence, believing every information which was laid before him as
proved, however doubtful or false it might be; and among other acts of
cruelty, he put Gerontius, a count of the party of Magnentius, to the
torture, and then condemned him to banishment.

2. And as the body of a sick man is apt to be agitated by even trifling
grievances, so his narrow and sensitive mind, thinking every sound that
stirred something either done or planned to the injury of his safety,
made his victory[6] mournful by the slaughter of innocent men.

3. For if any one of his military officers, or of those who had ever
received marks of honour, or if any one of high rank was accused, on the
barest rumour, of having favoured the faction of his enemy, he was
loaded with chains and dragged about like a beast. And whether any enemy
of the accused man pressed him or not, as if the mere fact that his
name had been mentioned was sufficient, every one who was informed
against or in any way called in question, was condemned either to death,
or to confiscation of his property, or to confinement in a desert

4. For his ferocity was excited to a still further degree when any
mention was made of treason or sedition; and the bloodthirsty
insinuations of those around him, exaggerating everything that happened,
and pretending great concern at any danger which might threaten the life
of the emperor, on whose safety, as on a thread, they hypocritically
exclaimed the whole world depended, added daily to his suspicions and
watchful anger.

5. And therefore it is reported he gave orders that no one who was at
any time sentenced to punishment for these or similar offences should be
readmitted to his presence for the purpose of offering the usual
testimonies to his character, a thing which the most implacable princes
have been wont to permit. And thus deadly cruelty, which in all other
men at times grows cool, in him only became more violent as he advanced
in years, because the court of flatterers which attended on him added
continual fuel to his stern obstinacy.

6. Of this court a most conspicuous member was Paulus, the secretary, a
native of Spain, a man keeping his objects hidden beneath a smooth
countenance, and acute beyond all men in smelling out secret ways to
bring others into danger. He, having been sent into Britain to arrest
some military officers who had dared to favour the conspiracy of
Magnentius, as they could not resist, licentiously exceeded his
commands, and like a flood poured with sudden violence upon the fortunes
of a great number of people, making his path through manifold slaughter
and destruction, loading the bodies of free-born men with chains, and
crushing some with fetters, while patching up all kinds of accusations
far removed from the truth. And to this man is owing one especial
atrocity which has branded the time of Constantius with indelible

7. Martinus, who at that time governed these provinces as deputy, being
greatly concerned for the sufferings inflicted on innocent men, and
making frequent entreaties that those who were free from all guilt
might be spared, when he found that he could not prevail, threatened to
withdraw from the province, in the hope that this malevolent inquisitor,
Paulus, might be afraid of his doing so, and so give over exposing to
open danger men who had combined only in a wish for tranquillity.

8. Paulus, thinking that this conduct of Martinus was a hindrance to his
own zeal, being, as he was, a formidable artist in involving matters,
from which people gave him the nickname of "the Chain," attacked the
deputy himself while still engaged in defending the people whom he was
set to govern, and involved him in the dangers which surrounded every
one else, threatening that he would carry him, with his tribunes and
many other persons, as a prisoner to the emperor's court. Martinus,
alarmed at this threat, and seeing the imminent danger in which his life
was, drew his sword and attacked Paulus. But because from want of
strength in his hand he was unable to give him a mortal wound, he then
plunged his drawn sword into his own side. And by this unseemly kind of
death that most just man departed from life, merely for having dared to
interpose some delay to the miserable calamities of many citizens.

9. And when these wicked deeds had been perpetrated, Paulus, covered
with blood, returned to the emperor's camp, bringing with him a crowd of
prisoners almost covered with chains, in the lowest condition of squalor
and misery; on whose arrival the racks were prepared, and the
executioner began to prepare his hooks and other engines of torture. Of
these prisoners, many of them had their property confiscated, others
were sentenced to banishment, some were given over to the sword of the
executioner. Nor is it easy to cite the acquittal of a single person in
the time of Constantius, where the slightest whisper of accusation had
been brought against him.


§ 1. At this time Orfitus was the governor of the Eternal City, with the
rank of prefect; and he behaved with a degree of insolence beyond the
proper limits of the dignity thus conferred upon him. A man of prudence
indeed, and well skilled in all the forensic business of the city, but
less accomplished in general literature and in the fine arts than was
becoming in a nobleman. Under his administration some very formidable
seditions broke out in consequence of the scarcity of wine, as the
people, being exceedingly eager for an abundant use of that article,
were easily excited to frequent and violent disorders.

2. And since I think it likely that foreigners who may read this account
(if, indeed, any such should meet with it) are likely to wonder how it
is that, when my history has reached the point of narrating what was
done at Rome, nothing is spoken of but seditions, and shops, and
cheapness, and other similarly inconsiderable matters, I will briefly
touch upon the causes of this, never intentionally departing from the
strict truth.

3. At the time when Rome first rose into mundane brilliancy--that Rome
which was fated to last as long as mankind shall endure, and to be
increased with a sublime progress and growth--virtue and fortune, though
commonly at variance, agreed upon a treaty of eternal peace, as far as
she was concerned. For if either of them had been wanting to her, she
would never have reached her perfect and complete supremacy.

4. Her people, from its very earliest infancy to the latest moment of
its youth, a period which extends over about three hundred years,
carried on a variety of wars with the natives around its walls. Then,
when it arrived at its full-grown manhood, after many and various
labours in war, it crossed the Alps and the sea, till, as youth and man,
it had carried the triumphs of victory into every country in the world.

5. And now that it is declining into old age, and often owes its
victories to its mere name, it has come to a more tranquil time of life.
Therefore the venerable city, after having bowed down the haughty necks
of fierce nations, and given laws to the world, to be the foundations
and eternal anchors of liberty, like a thrifty parent, prudent and rich,
intrusted to the Cæsars, as to its own children, the right of governing
their ancestral inheritance.

6. And although the tribes are indolent, and the countries peaceful, and
although there are no contests for votes, but the tranquillity of the
age of Numa has returned, nevertheless, in every quarter of the world
Rome is still looked up to as the mistress and the queen of the earth,
and the name of the Roman people is respected and venerated.

7. But this magnificent splendour of the assemblies and councils of the
Roman people is defaced by the inconsiderate levity of a few, who never
recollect where they have been born, but who fall away into error and
licentiousness, as if a perfect impunity were granted to vice. For as
the lyric poet Simonides teaches us, the man who would live happily in
accordance with perfect reason, ought above all things to have a
glorious country.

8. Of these men, some thinking that they can be handed down to
immortality by means of statues, are eagerly desirous of them, as if
they would obtain a higher reward from brazen figures unendowed with
sense than from a consciousness of upright and honourable actions; and
they even are anxious to have them plated over with gold, a thing which
is reported to have been first done in the instance of Acilius Glabrio,
who by his wisdom and valour had subdued King Antiochus. But how really
noble a thing it is to despise all these inconsiderable and trifling
things, and to bend one's attention to the long and toilsome steps of
true glory, as the poet of Ascrea[7] has sung, and Cato the Censor has
shown by his example. For when he was asked how it was that while many
other nobles had statues he had none, replied: "I had rather that good
men should marvel how it was that I did not earn one, than (what would
be a much heavier misfortune) inquire how it was that I had obtained

9. Others place the height of glory in having a coach higher than usual,
or splendid apparel; and so toil and sweat under a vast burden of
cloaks, which are fastened to their necks by many clasps, and blow about
from the excessive fineness of the material; showing a desire, by the
continual wriggling of their bodies, and especially by the waving of the
left hand, to make their long fringes and tunics, embroidered in
multiform figures of animals with threads of various colours, more

10. Others, with not any one asking them, put on a feigned severity of
countenance, and extol their patrimonial estates in a boundless degree,
exaggerating the yearly produce of their fruitful fields, which they
boast of possessing in numbers from east to west, being forsooth
ignorant that their ancestors, by whom the greatness of Rome was so
widely extended, were not eminent for riches; but through a course of
dreadful wars overpowered by their valour all who were opposed to them,
though differing but little from the common soldiers either in riches,
or in their mode of life, or in the costliness of their garments.

11. This is how it happened that Valerius Publicola was buried by the
contributions of his friends, and that the destitute wife of Regulus
was, with her children, supported by the aid of the friends of her
husband, and that the daughter of Scipio had a dowry provided for her
out of the public treasury, the other nobles being ashamed to see the
beauty of this full-grown maiden, while her moneyless father was so long
absent on the service of his country.

12. But now if you, as an honourable stranger, should enter the house of
any one well off, and on that account full of pride, for the purpose of
saluting him, at first, indeed, you will be hospitably received, as
though your presence had been desired; and after having had many
questions put to you, and having been forced to tell a number of lies,
you will wonder, since the man had never seen you before, that one of
high rank should pay such attention to you who are but an unimportant
individual; so that by reason of this as a principal source of
happiness, you begin to repent of not having come to Rome ten years ago.

13. And when relying on this affability you do the same thing the next
day, you will stand waiting as one utterly unknown and unexpected, while
he who yesterday encouraged you to repeat your visit, counts upon his
fingers who you can be, marvelling, for a long time, whence you come,
and what you want. But when at length you are recognized and admitted to
his acquaintance, if you should devote yourself to the attention of
saluting him for three years consecutively, and after this intermit your
visits for an equal length of time, then if you return to repeat a
similar course, you will never be questioned about your absence any more
than if you had been dead, and you will waste your whole life in
submitting to court the humours of this blockhead.

14. But when those long and unwholesome banquets, which are indulged in
at certain intervals, begin to be prepared, or the distribution of the
usual dole-baskets takes place, then it is discussed with anxious
deliberation whether when those to whom a return is due are to be
entertained, it is proper to invite also a stranger; and if, after the
matter has been thoroughly sifted, it is determined that it may be done,
that person is preferred who waits all night before the houses of
charioteers, or who professes a skill in dice, or pretends to be
acquainted with some peculiar secrets.

15. For such entertainers avoid all learned and sober men as
unprofitable and useless; with this addition, that the nomenclators[8]
also, who are accustomed to make a market of these invitations and of
similar favours, selling them for bribes, do for gain thrust in mean and
obscure men at these dinners.

16. The whirlpools of banquets, and the various allurements of luxury, I
omit, that I may not be too prolix, and with the object of passing on to
this fact, that some people, hastening on without fear of danger, drive
their horses, as if they were post-horses, with a regular licence, as
the saying is, through the wide streets of the city, over the roads
paved with flint, dragging behind them large bodies of slaves like bands
of robbers; not leaving at home even Sannio,[9] as the comic poet says.

17. And many matrons, imitating these men, gallop over every quarter of
the city with their heads covered, and in close carriages. And as
skilful conductors of battles place in the van their densest and
strongest battalions, then their light-armed troops, behind them the
darters, and in the extreme rear troops of reserve, ready to join in the
attack if necessity should arise; so, according to the careful
arrangements of the stewards of these city households, who are
conspicuous by wands fastened to their right hands, as if a regular
watchword had been issued from the camp, first of all, near the front
of the carriage march all the slaves concerned in spinning and working;
next to them come the blackened crew employed in the kitchen; then the
whole body of slaves promiscuously mixed up with a gang of idle
plebeians from the neighbourhood; last of all, the multitude of eunuchs,
beginning with the old men and ending with the boys, pale and unsightly
from the distorted deformity of their features; so that whichever way
any one goes, seeing troops of mutilated men, he will detest the memory
of Semiramis, that ancient queen who was the first person to castrate
male youths of tender age; doing as it were a violence to nature, and
forcing it back from its appointed course, which at the very first
beginning and birth of the child, by a kind of secret law revealing the
primitive fountains of seed, points out the way of propagating

18. And as this is the case, those few houses which were formerly
celebrated for the serious cultivation of becoming studies, are now
filled with the ridiculous amusements of torpid indolence, re-echoing
with the sound of vocal music and the tinkle of flutes and lyres.
Lastly, instead of a philosopher, you find a singer; instead of an
orator, some teacher of ridiculous arts is summoned; and the libraries
closed for ever, like so many graves; organs to be played by water-power
are made; and lyres of so vast a size, that they look like waggons; and
flutes, and ponderous machines suited for the exhibitions of actors.

19. Last of all, they have arrived at such a depth of unworthiness, that
when, no very long time ago, on account of an apprehended scarcity of
food, the foreigners were driven in haste from the city; those who
practised liberal accomplishments, the number of whom was exceedingly
small, were expelled without a moment's breathing-time; yet the
followers of actresses, and all who at that time pretended to be of such
a class, were allowed to remain; and three thousand dancing-girls had
not even a question put to them, but stayed unmolested with the members
of their choruses, and a corresponding number of dancing masters.

20. And wherever you turn your eyes, you may see a multitude of women
with their hair curled, who, as far as their age goes, might, if they
had married, been by this time the mothers of three children, sweeping
the pavements with their feet till they are weary, whirling round in
rapid gyrations, while representing innumerable groups and figures
which the theatrical plays contain.

21. It is a truth beyond all question, that, when at one time Rome was
the abode of all the virtues, many of the nobles, like the Lotophagi,
celebrated in Homer, who detained men by the deliciousness of their
fruit, allured foreigners of free birth by manifold attentions of
courtesy and kindness.

22. But now, in their empty arrogance, some persons look upon everything
as worthless which is born outside of the walls of the city, except only
the childless and the unmarried. Nor can it be conceived with what a
variety of obsequious observance men without children are courted at

23. And since among them, as is natural in a city so great as to be the
metropolis of the world, diseases attain to such an insurmountable
degree of violence, that all the skill of the physician is ineffectual
even to mitigate them; a certain assistance and means of safety has been
devised, in the rule that no one should go to see a friend in such a
condition, and to a few precautionary measures a further remedy of
sufficient potency has been added, that men should not readmit into
their houses servants who have been sent to inquire how a man's friends
who may have been seized with an illness of this kind are, until they
have cleansed and purified their persons in the bath. So that a taint is
feared, even when it has only been seen with the eyes of another.

24. But nevertheless, when these rules are observed thus stringently,
some persons, if they be invited to a wedding, though the vigour of
their limbs be much diminished, yet, when gold is offered[10] in the
hollow palm of the right hand, will go actively as far as Spoletum.
These are the customs of the nobles.

25. But of the lower and most indigent class of the populace some spend
the whole night in the wine shops. Some lie concealed in the shady
arcades of the theatres; which Catulus was in his ædileship the first
person to raise, in imitation of the lascivious manners of Campania, or
else they play at dice so eagerly as to quarrel over them; snuffing up
their nostrils and making unseemly noises by drawing back their breath
into their noses; or (and this is their favourite pursuit of all others)
from sunrise to evening they stay gaping through sunshine or rain,
examining in the most careful manner the most sterling good or bad
qualities of the charioteers and horses.

26. And it is very wonderful to see an innumerable multitude of people
with great eagerness of mind intent upon the event of the contests in
the chariot race. These pursuits, and others of like character, prevent
anything worth mentioning or important from being done at Rome.
Therefore we must return to our original subject.


§ 1. His licentiousness having now become more unbounded, the Cæsar
began to be burdensome to all virtuous men; and discarding all
moderation, he harassed every part of the East, sparing neither those
who had received public honours, nor the chief citizens of the different
cities; nor the common people.

2. At last by one single sentence he ordered all the principal persons
at Antioch to be put to death; being exasperated because when he
recommended that a low price should be established in the market at an
unseasonable time, when the city was threatened with a scarcity, they
answered him with objections, urged with more force than he approved;
and they would all have been put to death to a man, if Honoratus, who
was at that time count of the East, had not resisted him with
pertinacious constancy.

3. This circumstance was also a proof, and that no doubtful or concealed
one, of the cruelty of his nature, that he took delight in cruel sports,
and in the circus he would rejoice as if he had made some great gain, to
see six or seven gladiators killing one another in combats which have
often been forbidden.

4. In addition to these things a certain worthless woman inflamed his
purpose of inflicting misery; for she, having obtained admission to the
palace, as she had requested, gave him information that a plot was
secretly laid against him by a few soldiers of the lowest rank. And
Constantina, in her exultation, thinking that her husband's safety was
now fully secured, rewarded and placed this woman, in a carriage, and in
this way sent her out into the public street through the great gate of
the palace, in order, by such a temptation, to allure others also to
give similar or more important information.

5. After these events, Gallus being about to set out for Hierapolis, in
order, as far as appearance went, to take part in the expedition, the
common people of Antioch entreated him in a suppliant manner to remove
their fear of a famine which for many reasons (some of them difficult to
explain) it was believed was impending; Gallus, however, did not, as is
the custom of princes whose power, by the great extent of country over
which it is diffused, is able continually to remedy local distresses,
order any distribution of food to be made, or any supplies to be brought
from the neighbouring countries; but he pointed out to them a man of
consular rank, named Theophilus, the governor of Syria, who happened to
be standing by, replying to the repeated appeals of the multitude, who
were trembling with apprehensions of the last extremities, that no one
could possibly want food if the governor were not willing that they
should be in want of it.

6. These words increased the audacity of the lower classes, and when the
scarcity of provisions became more severe, urged by hunger and frenzy,
they set fire to and burnt down the splendid house of a man of the name
of Eubulus, a man of great reputation among his fellow-citizens; and
they attacked the governor himself with blows and kicks as one
especially made over to them by the judgment of the emperor, kicking him
till he was half dead, and then tearing him to pieces in a miserable
manner. And after his wretched death every one saw in the destruction of
this single individual a type of the danger to which he was himself
exposed, and, taught by this recent example, feared a similar fate.

7. About the same time Serenianus, who had previously been duke[11] of
Phoenicia, to whose inactivity it was owing, as we have already
related, that Celse in Phoenicia was laid waste, was deservedly and
legally accused of treason and no one saw how he could possibly be
acquitted. He was also manifestly proved to have sent an intimate friend
with a cap (with which he used to cover his own head) which had been
enchanted by forbidden acts to the temple of prophecy,[12] on purpose to
ask expressly whether, according to his wish, a firm enjoyment of the
whole empire was portended for him.

8. And in these days a twofold misfortune occurred: first, that a heavy
penalty had fallen upon Theophilus who was innocent; and, secondly, that
Serenianus who deserved universal execration, was acquitted without the
general feeling being able to offer any effectual remonstrance.

9. Constantius then hearing from time to time of these transactions, and
having been further informed of some particular occurrences by
Thalassius, who however had now died by the ordinary course of nature,
wrote courteous letters to the Cæsar, but at the same time gradually
withdrew from him his support, pretending to be uneasy, least as the
leisure of soldiers is usually a disorderly time, the troops might be
conspiring to his injury: and he desired him to content himself with the
schools of the Palatine,[13] and with those of the Protectors, with the
Scutarii, and Gentiles. And he ordered Domitianus, who had formerly been
the Superintendent of the Treasury, but who was now promoted to be a
prefect, as soon as he arrived in Syria, to address Gallus in persuasive
and respectful language, exhorting him to repair with all speed to
Italy, to which province the emperor had repeatedly summoned him.

10. And when, with this object, Domitianus had reached Antioch, having
travelled express, he passed by the gates of the palace, in contempt of
the Cæsar, whom, however, he ought to have visited, and proceeded to the
general's camp with ostentatious pomp, and there pretended to be sick;
he neither visited the palace, nor ever appeared in public, but keeping
himself private, he devised many things to bring about the destruction
of the Cæsar, adding many superfluous circumstances to the relations
which he was continually sending to the emperor.

11. At last, being expressly invited by the Cæsar, and being admitted
into the prince's council-chamber, without making the slightest preface
he began in this inconsiderate and light-minded manner: "Depart," said
he, "as you have been commanded, O Cæsar, and know this, that if you
make any delay I shall at once order all the provisions allotted for the
support of yourself and your court to be carried away." And then, having
said nothing more than these insolent words, he departed with every
appearance of rage; and would never afterwards come into his sight
though frequently sent for.

12. The Cæsar being indignant at this, as thinking he had been
unworthily and unjustly treated, ordered his faithful protectors to take
the prefect into custody; and when this became known, Montius, who at
that time was quæstor, a man of deep craft indeed, but still inclined to
moderate measures,[14] taking counsel for the common good, sent for the
principal members of the Palatine schools and addressed them in pacific
words, pointing out that it was neither proper nor expedient that such
things should be done; and adding also in a reproving tone of voice,
that if such conduct as this were approved of, then, after throwing down
the statues of Constantius the prefect would begin to think how he might
also with the greater security take his life also.

13. When this was known Gallus, like a serpent attacked with stones or
darts, being now reduced to the extremity of despair, and eager to
insure his safety by any possible means, ordered all his troops to be
collected in arms, and when they stood around him in amazement he
gnashed his teeth, and hissing with rage, said,--

14. "You are present here as brave men, come to the aid of me who am in
one common danger with you. Montius, with a novel and unprecedented
arrogance, accuses us of rebellion and resistance to the majesty of the
emperor, by roaring out all these charges against us. Being offended
forsooth that, as a matter of precaution, I ordered a contumacious
prefect, who pretended not to know what the state of affairs required,
to be arrested and kept in custody."

15. On hearing these words the soldiers immediately, being always on the
watch to raise disturbances, first of all attacked Montius, who happened
to be living close at hand, an old man of no great bodily strength, and
enfeebled by disease; and having bound his legs with coarse ropes, they
dragged him straddling, without giving him a moment to take breath, as
far as the general's camp.

16. And with the same violence they also bound Domitianus, dragging him
head first down the stairs; and then having fastened the two men
together, they dragged them through all the spacious streets of the city
at full speed. And, all their limbs and joints being thus dislocated,
they trampled on their corpses after they were dead, and mutilated them
in the most unseemly manner; and at last, having glutted their rage,
they threw them into the river.

17. But there was a certain man named Luscus, the governor of the city,
who, suddenly appearing among the soldiers, had inflamed them, always
ready for mischief, to the nefarious actions which they had thus
committed; exciting them with repeated cries, like the musician who
gives the tune to the mourners at funerals, to finish what they had
begun: and for this deed he was, not long after, burnt alive.

18. And because Montius, when just about to expire under the hands of
those who were tearing him to pieces, repeatedly named Epigonius and
Eusebius, without indicating either their rank or their profession, a
great deal of trouble was taken to find out who they were; and, lest the
search should have time to cool, they sent for a philosopher named
Epigonius, from Lycia, and for Eusebius the orator, surnamed Pittacos,
from Emissa; though they were not those whom Montius had meant, but
some tribunes, superintendents of the manufactures of arms, who had
promised him information if they heard of any revolutionary measures
being agitated.

19. About the same time Apollinaris, the son-in-law of Domitianus, who a
short time before had been the chief steward of the Cæsar's palace,
being sent to Mesopotamia by his father-in-law, took exceeding pains to
inquire among the soldiers whether they had received any secret
despatches from the Cæsar, indicating his having meditated any deeper
designs than usual. And as soon as he heard of the events which had
taken place at Antioch, he passed through the lesser Armenia and took
the road to Constantinople; but he was seized on his journey by the
Protectors, and brought back to Antioch, and there kept in close

20. And while these things were taking place there was discovered at
Tyre a royal robe, which had been secretly made, though it was quite
uncertain who had placed it where it was, or for whose use it had been
made. And on that account the governor of the province, who was at that
time the father of Apollinaris, and bore the same name, was arrested as
an accomplice in his guilt; and great numbers of other persons were
collected from different cities, who were all involved in serious

21. And now, when the trumpets of internal war and slaughter began to
sound, the turbulent disposition of the Cæsar, indifferent to any
consideration of the truth, began also to break forth, and that not
secretly as before. And without making any solemn investigation into the
truth of the charges brought against the citizens, and without
separating the innocent from the guilty, he discarded all ideas of right
or justice, as if they had been expelled from the seat of judgment. And
while all lawful defence on trials was silent, the torturer, and
plunderer, and the executioner, and every kind of confiscation of
property, raged unrestrained throughout the eastern provinces of the
empire, which I think it now a favourable moment to enumerate, with the
exception of Mesopotamia, which I have already described when I was
relating the Parthian wars; and also with the exception of Egypt, which
I am forced to postpone to another opportunity.


§ 1. After passing over the summit of Mount Taurus, which towards the
east rises up to a vast height, Cilicia spreads itself out for a very
great distance--a land rich in all valuable productions. It is bordered
on its right by Isauria, which is equally fertile in vines and in many
kinds of grain. The Calycadnus, a navigable river, flows through the
middle of Isaurus.

2. This province, besides other towns, is particularly adorned by two
cities, Seleucia, founded by King Seleucus, and Claudiopolis, which the
Emperor Claudius Cæsar established as a colony. For the city of Isauria,
which was formerly too powerful, was in ancient times overthrown as an
incurable and dangerous rebel, and so completely destroyed that it is
not easy to discover any traces of its pristine splendour.

3. The province of Cilicia, which exults in the river Cydnus, is
ornamented by Tarsus, a city of great magnificence. This city is said to
have been founded by Perseus, the son of Jupiter and Danaë; or else, and
more probably, by a certain emigrant who came from Ethiopia, by name
Sandan, a man of great wealth and of noble birth. It is also adorned by
the city of Anazarbus, which bears the name of its founder; and by
Mopsuestia, the abode of the celebrated seer Mopsus, who wandered from
his comrades the Argonauts when they were returning after having carried
off the Golden Fleece, and strayed to the African coast, where he died a
sudden death. His heroic remains, though covered by Punic turf, have
ever since that time cured a great variety of diseases, and have
generally restored men to sound health.

4. These two provinces being full of banditti were formerly subdued by
the proconsul Servilius, in a piratical war, and were passed under the
yoke, and made tributary to the empire. These districts being placed, as
it were, on a prominent tongue of land, are cut off from the main
continent by Mount Amanus.

5. The frontier of the East stretching straight forward for a great
distance, reached from the banks of the river Euphrates to those of the
Nile, being bounded on the left by the tribes of the Saracens and on
the right by the sea.

6. Nicator Seleucus, after he had occupied that district, increased its
prosperity to a wonderful degree, when, after the death of Alexander,
king of Macedonia, he took possession of the kingdom of Persia by right
of succession; being a mighty and victorious king, as his surname
indicates. And making free use of his numerous subjects, whom he
governed for a long time in tranquillity, he changed groups of rustic
habitations into regular cities, important for their great wealth and
power, the greater part of which at the present day, although they are
called by Greek names which were given them by the choice of their
founder, have nevertheless not lost their original appellations which
the original settlers of the villages gave them in the Assyrian

7. After Osdroene, which, as I have already said, I intend to omit from
this description, the first province to be mentioned is Commagena, now
called Euphratensis, which has arisen into importance by slow degrees,
and is remarkable for the splendid cities of Hierapolis, the ancient
Ninus, and Samosata.

8. The next province is Syria, which is spread over a beautiful
champaign country. This province is ennobled by Antioch, a city known
over the whole world, with which no other can vie in respect of its
riches, whether imported or natural: and by Laodicea and Apameia, and
also by Seleucia, all cities which have ever been most prosperous from
their earliest foundation.

9. After this comes Phoenicia, a province lying under Mount Lebanon,
full of beauty and elegance, and decorated with cities of great size and
splendour, among which Tyre excels all in the beauty of its situation
and in its renown. And next come Sidon and Berytus, and on a par with
them Emissa and Damascus, cities founded in remote ages.

10. These provinces, which the river Orontes borders, a river which
passes by the foot of the celebrated and lofty mountain Cassius, and at
last falls into the Levant near the Gulf of Issus, were added to the
Roman dominion by Cnæus Pompey, who, after he had conquered Tigranes,
separated them from the kingdom of Armenia.

11. The last province of the Syrias is Palestine, a district of great
extent, abounding in well-cultivated and beautiful land, and having
several magnificent cities, all of equal importance, and rivalling one
another as it were, in parallel lines. For instance, Cæsarea, which
Herod built in honour of the Prince Octavianus, and Eleutheropolis, and
Neapolis, and also Ascalon, and Gaza, cities built in bygone ages.

12. In these districts no navigable river is seen: in many places, too,
waters naturally hot rise out of the ground well suited for the cure of
various diseases. These regions also Pompey formed into a Roman province
after he had subdued the Jews and taken Jerusalem: and he made over
their government to a local governor.

13. Contiguous to Palestine is Arabia, a country which on its other side
joins the Nabathæi--a land full of the most plenteous variety of
merchandize, and studded with strong forts and castles, which the
watchful solicitude of its ancient inhabitants has erected in suitable
defiles, in order to repress the inroads of the neighbouring nations.
This province, too, besides several towns, has some mighty cities, such
as Bostra, Gerasa, and Philadelphia, fortified with very strong walls.
It was the Emperor Trajan who first gave this country the name of a
Roman province, and appointed a governor over it, and compelled it to
obey our laws, after having by repeated victories crushed the arrogance
of the inhabitants, when he was carrying his glorious arms into Media
and Parthia.

14. There is also the island of Cyprus, not very far from the continent,
and abounding in excellent harbours, which, besides its many municipal
towns, is especially famous for two renowned cities, Salamis and Paphos,
the one celebrated for its temple of Jupiter, the other for its temple
of Venus. This same Cyprus is so fertile, and so abounding in riches of
every kind, that without requiring any external assistance, it can by
its own native resources build a merchant ship from the very foundation
of the keel up to the top sails, and send it to sea fully equipped with

15. It is not to be denied that the Roman people invaded this island
with more covetousness than justice. For when Ptolemy, the king, who was
connected with us by treaty, and was also our ally, was without any
fault of his own proscribed, merely on account of the necessities of our
treasury, and slew himself by taking poison, the island was made
tributary to us, and its spoils placed on board our fleet, as if taken
from an enemy, and carried to Rome by Cato. We will now return to the
actions of Constantius in their due order.


§ 1. Amid all these various disasters, Ursicinus, who was the governor
of Nisibis, an officer to whom the command of the emperor had
particularly attached me as a servant, was summoned from that city, and
in spite of his reluctance, and of the opposition which he made to the
clamorous bands of flatterers, was forced to investigate the origin of
the pernicious strife which had arisen. He was indeed a soldier of great
skill in war, and an approved leader of troops; but a man who had always
kept himself aloof from the strife of the forum. He, alarmed at his own
danger when he saw the corrupt accusers and judges who were associated
with him, all emerging out of the same lurking-places, wrote secret
letters to Constantius informing him of what was going on, both publicly
and in secret; and imploring such assistance as, by striking fear into
Gallus, should somewhat curb his notorious arrogance.

2. But through excessive caution he had fallen into a worse snare, as we
shall relate hereafter, since his enemies got the opportunity of laying
numerous snares for him, to poison the mind of Constantius against him;
Constantius, in other respects a prince of moderation, was severe and
implacable if any person, however mean and unknown, whispered suspicion
of danger into his ears, and in such matters was wholly unlike himself.

3. On the day appointed for this fatal examination, the master of the
horse took his seat under the pretence of being the judge; others being
also set as his assessors, who were instructed beforehand what was to be
done: and there were present also notaries on each side of him, who kept
the Cæsar rapidly and continually informed of all the questions which
were put and all the answers which were given; and by his pitiless
orders, urged as he was by the persuasions of the queen, who kept her
ear at the curtain, many were put to death without being permitted to
soften the accusations brought against them, or to say a word in their
own defence.

4. The first persons who were brought before them were Epigonius and
Eusebius, who were ruined because of the similarity of their names to
those of other people; for we have already mentioned that Montius, when
just at the point of death, had intended to inculpate the tribunes of
manufactures, who were called by these names, as men who had promised to
be his supports in some future enterprise.

5. Epigonius was only a philosopher as far as his dress went, as was
evident, when, having tried entreaties in vain, his sides having been
torn with blows, and the fear of instant death being presented to him,
he affirmed by a base confession that his companion was privy to his
plans, though in fact he had no plans; nor had he ever seen or heard
anything, being wholly unconnected with forensic affairs. But Eusebius,
confidently denying what he was accused of, continued firm in unshaken
constancy, loudly declaring that it was a band of robbers before whom he
was brought, and not a court of justice.

6. And when, like a man well acquainted with the law, he demanded that
his accuser should be produced, and claimed the usual rights of a
prisoner; the Cæsar, having heard of his conduct, and looking on his
freedom as pride, ordered him to be put to the torture as an audacious
calumniator; and when Eusebius had been tortured so severely that he had
no longer any limbs left for torments, imploring heaven for justice, and
still smiling disdainfully, he remained immovable, with a firm heart,
not permitting his tongue to accuse himself or any one else. And so at
length, without having either made any confession, or being convicted of
anything, he was condemned to death with the spiritless partner of his
sufferings. He was then led away to death, protesting against the
iniquity of the times; imitating in his conduct the celebrated Stoic of
old, Zeno, who, after he had been long subjected to torture in order to
extract from him some false confession, tore out his tongue by the roots
and threw it, bloody as it was, into the face of the king of Cyprus, who
was examining him.

7. After these events the affair of the royal robe was examined into.
And when those who were employed in dyeing purple had been put to the
torture, and had confessed that they had woven a short tunic to cover
the chest, without sleeves, a certain person, by name Maras, was brought
in, a deacon, as the Christians call him; letters from whom were
produced, written in the Greek language to the superintendent of the
weaving manufactory at Tyre, which pressed him to have the beautiful
work finished speedily; of which work, however, these letters gave no
further description. And at last this man also was tortured, to the
danger of his life, but could not be made to confess anything.

8. After the investigation had been carried on with the examination,
under torture of many persons, when some things appeared doubtful, and
others it was plain were of a very unimportant character, and after many
persons had been put to death, the two Apollinares, father and son, were
condemned to banishment; and when they had come to a place which is
called Crateræ, a country house of their own, which is four-and-twenty
miles from Antioch, there, according to the order which had been given,
their legs were broken, and they were put to death.

9. After their death Gallus was not at all less ferocious than before,
but rather like a lion which has once tasted blood, he made many similar
investigations, all of which it is not worth while to relate, lest I
should exceed the bounds which I have laid down for myself; an error
which is to be avoided.


§ 1. While the East was thus for a long time suffering under these
calamities, at the first approach of open weather, Constantius being in
his seventh consulship, and the Cæsar in his third, the emperor quitted
Arles and went to Valentia, with the intention of making war upon the
brothers Gundomadus and Vadomarius, chiefs of the Allemanni; by whose
repeated inroads the territories of the Gauls, which lay upon their
frontier, were continually laid waste.

2. And while he was staying in that district, as he did for some time
while waiting for supplies, the importation of which from Aquitania was
prevented by the spring rains which were this year more severe than
usual, so that the rivers were flooded by them, Herculanus arrived, a
principal officer of the guard, son of Hermogenes, who had formerly been
master of the horse at Constantinople, and had been torn to pieces in a
popular tumult as we have mentioned before. And as he brought a faithful
account of what Gallus had done, the emperor, sorrowing over the
miseries that were passed, and full of anxious fear for the future, for
a time stilled the grief of his mind as well as he could.

3. But in the mean time all the soldiery being assembled at
Cabillon,[15] began to be impatient of delay, and to get furious, being
so much the more exasperated because they had not sufficient means of
living, the usual supplies not yet having arrived.

4. And in consequence of this state of things, Rufinus, at that time
prefect of the camp, was exposed to the most imminent danger. For he
himself was compelled to go among the soldiers, whose natural ferocity
was inflamed by their want of food, and who on other occasions are by
nature generally inclined to be savage and bitter against men of civil
dignities. He was compelled, I say, to go among them to appease them and
explain on what account the arrival of their corn was delayed.

5. And the task thus imposed on him was very cunningly contrived, in
order that he, the uncle of Gallus, might perish in the snare; lest he,
being a man of great power and energy, should rouse his nephew to
confidence, and lead him to undertake enterprises which might be
mischievous. Great caution, however, was used to escape this; and, when
the danger was got rid of for a while, Eusebius, the high chamberlain,
was sent to Cabillon with a large sum of money, which he distributed
secretly among the chief leaders of sedition: and so the turbulent and
arrogant disposition of the soldiers was pacified, and the safety of the
prefect secured. Afterwards food having arrived in abundance the camp
was struck on the day appointed.

6. After great difficulties had been surmounted, many of the roads
being buried in snow, the army came near to Rauracum[16] on the banks of
the Rhine, where the multitude of the Allemanni offered great
resistance, so that by their fierceness the Romans were prevented from
fixing their bridge of boats, darts being poured upon them from all
sides like hail; and, when it seemed impossible to succeed in that
attempt, the emperor being taken by surprise, and full of anxious
thoughts, began to consider what to do.

7. When suddenly a guide well acquainted with the country arrived, and
for a reward pointed out a ford by night, where the river could be
crossed; and the army crossing at that point, while the enemy had their
attention directed elsewhere, might without any one expecting such a
step, have and waste the whole country, if a few men of the same nation
to whom the higher posts in the Roman army were intrusted had not (as
some people believe) informed their fellow-countrymen of the design by
secret messengers.

8. The disgrace of this suspicion fell chiefly on Latinus, a commander
of the domestic guard, and on Agilo, an equerry, and on Scudilo, the
commander of the Scutarii, men who at that time were looked up to as
those who supported the republic with their right hands.

9. But the barbarians, though taking instant counsel on such an
emergency, yet either because the auspices turned out unfavourable, or
because the authority of the sacrifices prohibited an instant
engagement, abated their energy, and the confidence with which they had
hitherto resisted; and sent some of their chiefs to beg pardon for their
offences, and sue for peace.

10. Therefore, having detained for some time the envoys of both the
kings, and having long deliberated over the affair in secret, the
emperor, when he had decided that it was expedient to grant peace on the
terms proposed, summoned his army to an assembly with the intention of
making them a short speech, and mounting the tribunal, surrounded with a
staff of officers of high rank, spoke in the following manner:

11. "I hope no one will wonder, after the long and toilsome marches we
have made, and the vast supplies and magazines which have been provided,
from the confidence which I felt in you, that now although we are close
to the villages of the barbarians, I have, as if I had suddenly changed
my plans, adopted more peaceful counsels.

12. "For if every one of you, having regard to his own position and his
own feelings, considers the case, he will find this to be the truth:
that the individual soldier in all cases, however strong and vigorous he
may be, regards and defends nothing but himself and his own life; while
the general, looking on all with impartiality as the guardian of their
general safety, is aware that the common interest of the people cannot
be separated from his own safety; and he is bound to seize with alacrity
every remedy of which the condition of affairs admits, as being put into
his hand by the favour of the gods.

13. "That therefore I may in a few words set before you and explain on
what account I wished all of you, my most faithful comrades, to assemble
here, I entreat you to listen attentively to what I will state with all
the brevity possible. For the language of truth is always concise and

14. "The kings and people of the Allemanni, viewing with apprehension
the lofty steps of your glory (which fame, increasing in magnificence,
has diffused throughout the most distant countries), now by their
ambassadors humbly implore pardon for their past offences, and peace.
And this indulgence I, as a cautious and prudent adviser of what is
useful, think expedient to grant them, if your consent be not wanting:
being led to this opinion by many considerations, in the first place
that so we may avoid the doubtful issues of war; in the second place,
that instead of enemies we may have allies, as they promise we shall
find them; further, that without bloodshed we may pacify their haughty
ferocity, a feeling which is often mischievous in our provinces; and
last of all, recollecting that the man who falls in battle, overwhelmed
by superior weapons or strength, is not the only enemy who has to be
subdued; and that with much greater safety to the state, even while the
trumpet of war is silent, he is subdued who makes voluntary submission,
having learnt by experience that we lack neither courage against rebels,
nor mercy towards suppliants.

15. "To sum up, making you as it were the arbitrators, I wait to see
what you determine: having no doubt myself, as an emperor always
desirous of peace, that it is best to employ moderation while prosperity
descends upon us. For, believe me, this conduct which I recommend, and
which is wisely chosen, will not be imputed to want of courage on your
part, but to your moderation and humanity."

16. As soon as he had finished speaking, the whole assembly being ready
to agree to what the emperor desired, and praising his advice, gave
their votes for peace; being principally influenced by this
consideration, that they had already learnt by frequent expeditions that
the fortune of the emperor was only propitious in times of civil
troubles; but that when foreign wars were undertaken they had often
proved disastrous. On this, therefore, a treaty being made according to
the customs of the Allemanni, and all the solemnities being completed,
the emperor retired to Milan for the winter.


§ 1. At Milan, having discarded the weight of other cares, the emperor
took into his consideration that most difficult gordian knot, how by a
mighty effort to uproot the Cæsar. And while he was deliberating on this
matter with his friends in secret conference by night, and considering
what force, and what contrivances might be employed for the purpose,
before Gallus in his audacity should more resolutely set himself to
plunging affairs into confusion, it seemed best that Gallus should be
invited by civil letters, under pretence of some public affairs of an
urgent nature requiring his advice, so that, being deprived of all
support, he might be put to death without any hindrance.

2. But as several knots of light-minded flatterers opposed this opinion,
among whom was Arbetio, a man of keen wit and always inclined to
treachery, and Eusebius, a man always disposed to mischief, at that time
the principal chamberlain, they suggested that if the Cæsar were to quit
those countries it would be dangerous to leave Ursicinus in the East,
with no one to check his designs, if he should cherish ambitious

3. And these counsels were supported by the rest of the royal eunuchs,
whose avarice and covetousness at that period had risen to excess. These
men, while performing their private duties about the court, by secret
whispers supplied food for false accusations; and by raising bitter
suspicions of Ursicinus, ruined a most gallant man, creating by
underhand means a belief that his grown-up sons began to aim at supreme
power; intimating that they were youths in the flower of their age and
of admirable personal beauty, skilful in the use of every kind of
weapon, well trained in all athletic and military exercises, and
favourably known for prudence and wisdom. They insinuated also that
Gallus himself, being by nature fierce and unmanageable, had been
excited to acts of additional cruelty and ferocity by persons placed
about him for that purpose, to the end that, when he had brought upon
himself universal detestation, the ensigns of power might be transferred
to the children of the master of the horse.

4. When these and similar suspicions were poured into the ears of
Constantius, which were always open to reports of this kind, the
emperor, revolving different plans in his mind, at last chose the
following as the most advisable course. He commanded Ursicinus in a most
complimentary manner to come to him, on the pretence that the urgent
state of certain affairs required to be arranged by the aid of his
counsel and concurrence, and that he had need of such additional support
in order to crush the power of the Parthian tribes, who were threatening

5. And that he who was thus invited might not suspect anything
unfriendly, the Count Prosper was sent to act as his deputy till he
returned. Accordingly, when Ursicinus had received the letters, and had
obtained a sufficient supply of carriages, and means of travelling,
we[17] hastened to Milan with all speed.

6. The next thing was to contrive to summon the Cæsar, and to induce him
to make the like haste. And to remove all suspicion in his mind,
Constantius used many hypocritical endearments to persuade his own
sister, Gallus's wife, whom he pretended he had long been wishing to
see, to accompany him. And although she hesitated from fear of her
brother's habitual cruelty, yet, from a hope that, as he was her
brother, she might be able to pacify him, she set out; but when she
reached Bithynia, at the station named Cæni Gallici, she was seized with
a sudden fever and died. And after her death, her husband, considering
that he had lost his greatest security and the chief support on which he
relied, hesitated, taking anxious thought what he should do.

7. For amid the multiplicity of embarrassing affairs which distracted
his attention, this point especially filled his mind with apprehension,
that Constantius, determining everything according to his own sole
judgment, was not a man to admit of any excuse, or to pardon any error;
but being, as he was, more inclined to severity towards his kinsmen than
towards others, would be sure to put him to death if he could get him
into his power.

8. Being therefore in this critical situation, and feeling that he had
to expect the worst unless he took vigilant care, he embraced the idea
of seizing on the supreme power if he could find any opportunity: but
for two reasons he distrusted the good faith of his most intimate
councillors; both because they dreaded him as at once cruel and fickle,
and also because amid civil dissensions they looked with awe upon the
loftier fortune of Constantius.

9. While perplexed with these vast and weighty anxieties he received
continual letters from the emperor, advising and entreating him to come
to him; and giving him hints that the republic neither could nor ought
to be divided; but that every one was bound to the utmost of his power
to bring aid to it when it was tottering; alluding in this to the
devastations of the Gauls.

10. And to this suggestion he added an example of no great antiquity,
that in the time of Diocletian and his colleague,[18] the Cæsars obeyed
them as their officers, not remaining stationary, but hastening to
execute their orders in every direction. And that even Galerius went in
his purple robe on foot for nearly a mile before the chariot of
Augustus[19] when he was offended with him.

11. After many other messengers had been despatched to him, Scudilo the
tribune of the Scutarii arrived, a very cunning master of persuasion
under the cloak of a rude, blunt disposition. He, by mixing flattering
language with his serious conversation, induced him to proceed, when no
one else could do so, continually assuring him, with a hypocritical
countenance, that his cousin was extremely desirous to see him; that,
like a clement and merciful prince, he would pardon whatever errors had
been committed through thoughtlessness; that he would make him a partner
in his own royal rank, and take him for his associate in those toils
which the northern provinces, long in a disturbed state, imposed upon

12. And as when the Fates lay their hand upon a man his senses are wont
to be blunted and dimmed, so Gallus, being led on by these alluring
persuasions to the expectation of a better fortune, quitted Antioch
under the guidance of an unfriendly star, and hurried, as the old
proverb has it, out of the smoke into the flame;[20] and having arrived
at Constantinople as if in great prosperity and security, at the
celebration of the equestrian games, he with his own hand placed the
crown on the head of the charioteer Corax, when he obtained the victory.

13. When Constantius heard this he became exasperated beyond all bounds
of moderation; and lest by any chance Gallus, feeling uncertain of the
future, should attempt to consult his safety by flight, all the
garrisons stationed in the towns which lay in his road were carefully

14. And at the same time Taurus, who was sent as quæstor into Armenia,
passed by without visiting or seeing him. Some persons, however, by the
command of the emperor, arrived under the pretence of one duty or
another, in order to take care that he should not be able to move, or
make any secret attempt of any kind. Among whom was Leontius, afterwards
prefect of the city, who was sent as quæstor; and Lucillianus, as count
of the domestic guards, and a tribune of the Scutarii named Bainobaudes.

15. Therefore after a long journey through the level country, when he
had reached Hadrianopolis, a city in the district of Mount Hæmus, which
had been formerly called Uscudama, where he stayed twelve days to
recover from his fatigue, he found that the Theban legions, who were in
winter quarters in the neighbouring towns of those parts, had sent some
of their comrades to exhort him by trustworthy and sure promises to
remain there relying upon them, since they were posted in great force
among the neighbouring stations; but those about him watched him with
such diligent care that he could get no opportunity of seeing them, or
of hearing their message.

16. Then, as letter after letter from the emperor urged him to quit that
city, he took ten public carriages, as he was desired to do, and leaving
behind him all his retinue, except a few of his chamberlains and
domestic officers, whom he had brought with him, he was in this poor
manner compelled to hasten his journey, his guards forcing him to use
all speed; while he from time to time, with many regrets, bewailed the
rashness which had placed him in a mean and despised condition at the
mercy of men of the lowest class.

17. And amid all these circumstances, in moments when exhausted nature
sought repose in sleep, his senses were kept in a state of agitation by
dreadful spectres making unseemly noises about him; and crowds of those
whom he had slain, led on by Domitianus and Montius, seemed to seize and
torture him with all the torments of the Furies.

18. For the mind, when freed by sleep from its connection with the body,
is nevertheless active, and being full of the thoughts and anxieties of
mortal pursuits, engenders mighty visions which we call phantoms.

19. Therefore his melancholy fate, by which it was destined he should be
deprived of empire and life, leading the way, he proceeded on his
journey by continual relays of horses, till he arrived at Petobio,[21] a
town in Noricum. Here all disguise was thrown off, and the Count
Barbatio suddenly made his appearance, with Apodemius, the secretary for
the provinces, and an escort of soldiers whom the emperor had picked out
as men bound to him by especial favours, feeling sure that they could
not be turned from their obedience either by bribes or pity.

20. And now the affair was conducted to its conclusion without further
disguise or deceit, and the whole portion of the palace which is outside
the walls was surrounded by armed men. Barbatio, entering the palace
before daybreak, stripped the Cæsar of his royal robes, and clothed him
with a tunic and an ordinary soldier's garment, assuring him with many
protestations, as if by the especial command of the emperor, that he
should be exposed to no further suffering; and then said to him, "Stand
up at once." And having suddenly placed him in a private carriage, he
conducted him into Istria, near to the town of Pola, where it is
reported that Crispus, the son of Constantine, was formerly put to

21. And while he was there kept in strict confinement, being already
terrified with apprehensions of his approaching destruction, Eusebius,
at that time the high chamberlain, arrived in haste, and with him
Pentadius the secretary, and Mallobaudes the tribune of the guard, who
had the emperor's orders to compel him to explain, case by case, on what
accounts he had ordered each of the individuals whom he had executed at
Antioch to be put to death.

22. He being struck with a paleness like that of Adrastus[22] at these
questions, was only able to reply that he had put most of them to death
at the instigation of his wife Constantina; being forsooth ignorant that
when the mother of Alexander the Great urged him to put to death some
one who was innocent, and in the hope of prevailing with him, repeated
to him over and over again that she had borne him nine months in her
womb, and was his mother, that emperor made her this prudent answer, "My
excellent mother, ask for some other reward; for the life of a man
cannot be put in the balance with any kind of service."

23. When this was known, the emperor, giving way to unchangeable
indignation and anger, saw that his only hope of establishing security
firmly lay in putting the Cæsar to death. And having sent Serenianus,
whom we have already spoken of as having been accused of treason, but
acquitted by intrigue, and Pentadius the secretary, and Apodemius the
secretary for the provinces, he commanded that they should put him to
death. And accordingly his hands were bound like those of some
convicted thief, and he was beheaded, and his carcass, which but a
little while ago had been the object of dread to cities and provinces,
deprived of head and defaced: it was then left on the ground.

24. In this the supervision of the supreme Deity manifested itself to be
everywhere vigilant. For not only did the cruelties of Gallus bring
about his own destruction, but they also who, by their pernicious
flattery and instigation, and charges supported by perjury, had led him
to the perpetration of many murders, not long afterwards died miserably.
Scudilo, being afflicted with a liver complaint which penetrated to his
lungs, died vomiting; while Barbatio, who had long busied himself in
inventing false accusations against Gallus, was accused by secret
information of aiming at some post higher than his command of infantry,
and being condemned, though unjustly, was put to death, and so by his
melancholy end made atonement to the shade of the Cæsar.

25. These, and innumerable other actions of the same kind, Adrastea, who
is also called Nemesis, the avenger of wicked and the rewarder of good
deeds, is continually bringing to pass: would that she could always do
so! She is a kind of sublime agent of the powerful Deity, dwelling,
according to common belief, above the human circle; or, as others define
her, she is a substantial protection, presiding over the particular
destinies of individuals, and feigned by the ancient theologians to be
the daughter of Justice, looking down from a certain inscrutable
eternity upon all terrestrial and mundane affairs.

26. She, as queen of all causes of events, and arbitress and umpire in
all affairs of life, regulates the urn which contains the lots of men,
and directs the alternations of fortune which we behold in the world,
frequently bringing our undertakings to an issue different from what we
intended, and involving and changing great numbers of actions. She also,
binding the vainly swelling pride of mankind by the indissoluble fetters
of necessity, and swaying the inclination of progress and decay
according to her will, sometimes bows down and enfeebles the stiff neck
of arrogance, and sometimes raises virtuous men from the lowest depth,
leading them to a prosperous and happy life. And it is on this account
that the fables of antiquity have represented her with wings, that she
may be supposed to be present at all events with prompt celerity. And
they have also placed a rudder in her hand and given her a wheel under
her feet, that mankind may be aware that she governs the universe,
running at will through all the elements.[23]

27. In this untimely manner did the Cæsar, being himself also already
weary of life, die, in the twenty-ninth year of his age, having reigned
four years. He was born in the country of the Etrurians, in the district
of Veternum,[24] being the son of Constantius, the brother of the
Emperor Constantine; his mother was Galla, the sister of Rufinus and
Cerealis, men who had been ennobled by the offices of consul and

28. He was a man of splendid stature and great beauty of person and
figure, with soft hair of a golden colour, his newly sprouting beard
covering his cheeks with a tender down, and in spite of his youth his
countenance showed dignity and authority. He differed as much from the
temperate habits of his brother Julian, as the sons of Vespasian,
Domitian and Titus, differed from each other.

29. After he had been taken by the emperor as his colleague, and raised
to the highest eminence of power, he experienced the fickle
changeableness of fortune which mocks mortality, sometimes raising
individuals to the stars, at others sinking them to the lowest depths
of hell.

30. And though the examples of such vicissitudes are beyond number,
nevertheless I will only enumerable a few in a cursory manner. This
changeable and fickle fortune made Agathocles, the Sicilian, a king from
being a potter, and reduced Dionysius, formerly the terror of all
nations, to be the master of a grammar school. This same fortune
emboldened Andriscus of Adramyttium, who had been born in a fuller's
shop, to assume the name of Philip, and compelled the legitimate son of
Perseus[25] to descend to the trade of a blacksmith to obtain a
livelihood. Again, fortune surrendered Mancinus[26] to the people of
Numantia, after he had enjoyed the supreme command, exposed Veturius[27]
to the cruelty of the Samnites, Claudius[28] to that of the Corsicans,
and made Regulus[29] a victim to the ferocity of the Carthaginians.
Through the injustice of fortune, Pompey,[30] after he had acquired the
surname of the Great by the grandeur of his exploits, was murdered in
Ægypt at the pleasure of some eunuchs, while a fellow named Eunus, a
slave who had escaped from a house of correction, commanded an army of
runaway slaves in Sicily. How many men of the highest birth, through the
connivance of this same fortune, submitted to the authority of Viriathus
and of Spartacus![31] How many heads at which nations once trembled have
fallen under the deadly hand of the executioner! One man is thrown into
prison, another is promoted to unexpected power, a third is hurled down
from the highest rank and dignity. But he who would endeavour to
enumerate all the various and frequent instances of the caprice of
fortune, might as well undertake to number the sands or ascertain the
weight of mountains.

[1] Gallus and his brother Julian were the nephews of the great
Constantine, sons of his brother Julius. When Constantius, who succeeded
Constantine on the throne, murdered his uncles and most of his cousins,
he spared these two, probably on account of their tender age.

[2] Hannibalianus was another nephew of Constantine. That emperor raised
his own three sons, Constantine, Constantius, and Constans, to the
dignity of Cæsar; and of his two favourite nephews, Dalmacius and
Hannibalianus, he raised the first, by the title of Cæsar, to an
equality with his cousins; "in favour of the latter he invented the new
and singular appellation of Fortitissimus, to which he annexed the
flattering distinction of a robe of purple and gold. But of the whole
series of Roman princes in any age of the empire Hannibalianus alone was
distinguished by the title of _king_, a name which the subjects of
Tiberius would have detested as the profane and cruel insult of
capricious tyranny."--Gibbon, cxviii. The editor of Bohn's edition adds
in a note: "The title given to Hannibalianus did not apply to him as a
_Roman_ prince, but as king of a territory assigned to him in Asia. This
territory consisted of Pontus, Cappadocia, and the lesser Armenia, the
city of Cæsarea being chosen for his residence."--Gibbon, Bohn's
edition, vol. ii. pp. 256, 257.

[3] "There was among the commanders of the soldiery one prefect who was
especially entitled Præsens, or Præsentalis, because his office was to
be always in the court or about the person of the prince, and because
the emperor's body-guard was under his particular orders."--H. Valesius.

[4] The passage is found in Cicero's Oration pro Cluentio, c. 25.

[5] Sciron was a pirate slain by Theseus, v. Ov. Metam. vii. 44 and the
Epistle of Ariadne to Theseus.

  "Cum fuerit Sciron lectus, torvusque Procrustes."

[6] His victory over Magnentius, whom he defeated at Mursa, on the
Doave, in the year 351. Magnentius fled to Aquileia, but was pursued,
and again defeated the next year, at a place called Mons Seleuci, in the
neighbourhood of Gap, and threw himself on his own sword to avoid
falling into the hands of Constantius.

[7] Hesiod. Ammianus refers to the passage in Hesiod's Op. et Dies, 289,
beginning--τῆς δ’ ἀρεῆς ίδρῶτα θεοὶ προπάροιθεν ἔθησαν.

[8] A nomenclator was a slave who attended a great noble in his walk
through the city to remind him of the names of those whom he met. See
Cicero pro Muræna, c. 36.

[9] The name of a slave in the Eunuch, of Terence, who says, act. iv sc.
8--Sannio alone stays at home.

[10] It was customary on such solemnities, as also on the occasion of
assuming the toga virilis, or entering on any important magistracy, to
make small presents of money to the guests who were invited to celebrate
the occasion. Cf. Plin. Epist. x. 117.

[11] The Latin is Dux. It is about this period that the title Duke and
Count, which we have already had, arose, indicating however at first not
territorial possessions, but military commands; and it is worth noticing
that the rank of Count was the higher of the two.

[12] Constantine, on his conversion to Christianity, had issued an edict
forbidding the consultation of oracles; but the practice was not wholly
abandoned till the time of Theodosius.

[13] Schools was the name given at Rome to buildings where men were wont
to meet for any purpose, whether of study, of traffic, or of the
practice of any art. The schools of the Palatine were the station of the
cohorts of the guard. The "Protectors or Guards" were a body of soldiers
of higher rank, receiving also higher pay; called also "Domestici or
household troops," as especially set apart for the protection of the
imperial palace and person. The "Scutarii" (shield-bearers) belonged to
the Palatine schools; and the Gentiles were troops enlisted from among
those nations which were still accounted barbarous.

[14] Gibbon here proposes for le_n_itatem to read le_v_itatem,
fickleness; himself describing Montius as "a statesman whose art and
experience were frequently betrayed by the levity of his
disposition."--Cap. xix., p. 298, vol. iii., Bohn's edition.

[15] Châlons sur Saône.

[16] Near Basle.

[17] It will be observed that Ammianus here speaks of himself as in
attendance upon Ursicinus.

[18] Maximianus Herculius.

[19] Diocletian.

[20] As we say, Out of the frying-pan into the fire.

[21] The town of Pettau, on the Drave.

[22] A paleness such as overspread the countenance of Adrastus when he
saw his two sons-in-law, Pydeus and Polynices, slain at Thebes. Virgil
speaks of Adrasti pallentis imago, Æn. vi. 480.

[23] Ammianus here confounds Nemesis with Fortuna. Compare Horace's
description of the latter goddess, Lib. i. Od. 34:--

      " ... Valet ima summis
  Mutare, et insignia attenuat deus
  Obscura promens: hinc apicem rapax
      Fortuna cum stridore acuto
      Sustulit; hic posuisse gaudet."

Or, as it is translated by Dr. Francis:--

  "The hand of Jove can crush the proud
  Down to the meanness of the crowd:
      And raise the lowest in his stead:
  But rapid Fortune pulls him down,
  And snatches his imperial crown,
      To place, not _fix_ it, on another's head."

[24] Near the modern city of Sienna.

[25] See Plutarch's Life of Æmilius, c. 37. The name of the young prince
was Alexander.

[26] Called also Hostilius; cf. Vell. Paterc. ii. 1.

[27] Cf. Liv. ix. c. x.; Cicero de Officiis, iii. 30.

[28] Cf. Val. Max. vi. 3.

[29] Cf. Horace, Od. iv. ult.; Florus, ii. 1. The story of the cruelties
inflicted on Regulus is now, however, generally disbelieved.

[30] The fate of Pompey served also as an instance to Juvenal in his
satire on the vanity of human wishes.

  Provida Pompeio diderat Campania febres
  Optandas, sed multæ urbes et publica vota
  Vicerunt; igitur Fortuna ipsius et urbis
  Servatum victo caput abstulit.

Sat. X. 283, &c.

[31] Spartacus was the celebrated leader of the slaves in the Servile



     I. The death of the Cæsar Gallus is announced to the emperor.--II.
     Ursicinus, the commander of the cavalry in the East; Julian, the
     brother of the Cæsar Gallus; and Gorgonius, the high chamberlain,
     are accused of treason.--III. The adherents and servants of the
     Cæsar Gallus are punished.--IV. The Allemanni of the district of
     Lintz are defeated by the Emperor Constantius with great loss.--V.
     Silvanus, a Frank, the commander of the infantry in Gaul, is
     saluted as emperor at Cologne; and on the twenty-eighth day of his
     reign is destroyed by stratagem.--VI. The friends and adherents of
     Silvanus are put to death.--VII. Seditions of the Roman people are
     repressed by Leontius, the prefect of the city; Liberius, the
     bishop, is driven from his see.--VIII. Julian, the brother of
     Gallus, is created Cæsar by the Emperor Constantius, his uncle; and
     is appointed to command.--IX. On the origin of the Gauls, and from
     whence they derive the names of Celts and Gauls; and of their
     treaties.--X. Of the Gallic Alps, and of the various passes over
     them.--XI. A brief description of Gaul, and of the course of the
     River Rhone.--XII. Of the manners of the Gauls.--XIII. Of
     Musonianus, prefect of the Prætorium in the East.


A.D. 354.

§ 1. Having investigated the truth to the best of our power we have
hitherto related all the transactions which either our age permitted us
to witness, or which we could learn from careful examination of those
who were concerned in them, in the order in which the several events
took place. The remaining facts, which the succeeding books will set
forth, we will, as far as our talent permits, explain with the greatest
accuracy, without fearing those who may be inclined to cavil at our work
as too long; for brevity is only to be praised when, while it puts an
end to unseasonable delays, it suppresses nothing which is well

2. Gallus had hardly breathed his last in Noricum, when Apodemius, who
as long as he lived had been a fiery instigator of disturbances, caught
up his shoes and carried them off, journeying, with frequent relays of
horses, so rapidly as even to kill some of them by excess of speed, and
so brought the first news of what had occurred to Milan. And having made
his way into the palace, he threw down the shoes before the feet of
Constantius, as if he were bringing the spoils of a king of the
Parthians who had been slain. And when this sudden news arrived that an
affair so unexpected and difficult had been executed with entire
facility in complete accordance with the wish of the emperor, the
principal courtiers, according to their custom, exerting all their zeal
in the path of flattery, extolled to the skies the virtue and good
fortune of the emperor, at whose nod, as if they had been mere common
soldiers, two princes had thus been deprived of their power, namely,
Veteranio and Gallus.

3. And Constantius being exceedingly elated at the exquisite taste of
this adulation, and thinking that he himself for the future should be
free from all the ordinary inconveniences of mortality, now began to
depart from the path of justice so evidently that he even at times laid
claim to immortality; and in writing letters with his own hand, would
style himself lord of the whole world; a thing which, if others had
said, any one ought to have been indignant at, who laboured with proper
diligence to form his life and habits in emulation of the constitutional
princes who had preceded him, as he professed to do.

4. For even if he had under his power the infinities of worlds fancied
by Democritus, as Alexander the Great, under the promptings of
Anaxarchus, did fancy, yet either by reading, or by hearing others
speak, he might have considered that (as mathematicians unanimously
agree) the circumference of the whole earth, immense as it seems to us,
is nevertheless not bigger than a pin's point as compared with the
greatness of the universe.


§ 1. And now, after the pitiable death of the Cæsar, the trumpet of
judicial dangers sounded the alarm, and Ursicinus was impeached of
treason, envy gaining more and more strength every day to attack his
safety; envy which is inimical to all powerful men.

2. For he was overcome by this difficulty, that, while the ears of the
emperor were shut against all defences which were reasonable and easy of
proof, they were open to all the secret whispers of calumniators, who
pretended that his name was almost disused among all the districts of
the East, and that Ursicinus was urged by them both privately and
publicly to be their commander, as one who could be formidable to the
Persian nation.

3. But this magnanimous man stood his ground immovably against whatever
might happen, only taking care not to throw himself away in an abject
manner, and grieving from his heart that innocence had no safe
foundation on which to stand. And the more sad also for this
consideration, that before these events took place many of his friends
had gone over to other more powerful persons, as in cases of official
dignity the lictors go over to the successors of former officers.

4. His colleague Arbetio was attacking him by cajoling words of feigned
good-will, often publicly speaking of him as a virtuous and brave man;
Arbetio being a man of great cunning in laying snares for men of simple
life, and one who at that season enjoyed too much power. For as a
serpent that has its hole underground and hidden from the sight of man
observes the different passers-by, and attacks whom it will with a
sudden spring, so this man, having been raised from being a common
soldier of the lowest class to the highest military dignities, without
having received any injury or any provocation, polluted his conscience
from an insatiable desire of doing mischief.

5. Therefore, having a few partners in his secrets for accomplices, he
had secretly arranged with the emperor when he asked his opinion, that
on the next night Ursicinus should be seized and carried away from the
sight of the soldiers, and so be put to death uncondemned, just as
formerly Domitius Corbulo, that faithful and wise defender of our
provinces, is said to have been slain in the miserable period of Nero's

6. And after the matter had been thus arranged, while the men destined
for the service of seizing Ursicinus were waiting for the appointed
time, the emperor's mind changed to mercy, and so this impious deed was
put off for further consideration.

7. Then the engine of calumny was directed against Julian, who had
lately been brought to court; a prince who afterwards became memorable,
but who was now attacked with a twofold accusation, as the iniquity of
his enemies thought requisite. First, that he had gone from the Park of
Macellum, which lies in Cappadocia, into Asia, from a desire of
acquiring polite learning. Secondly, that he had seen his brother as he
passed through Constantinople.

8. And when he had explained away the charges thus brought against him,
and had proved that he had not done either of these things without being
ordered, he would still have perished through the intrigues of the
abandoned court of flatterers, if he had not been saved by the favour of
the supreme Deity, with the assistance of Queen Eusebia. By her
intercession he obtained leave to be conducted to the town of Como, in
the neighbourhood of Milan; and after he had remained there a short time
he was permitted to go to Greece for the purpose of cultivating his
literary tastes, as he was very eager to do.

9. Nor were there wanting other incidents arising out of these
occurrences, which might be looked upon as events under the direction of
Providence, as some of them were rightly punished, while others failed
of their design, proving vain and ineffective. But it occasionally
happened that rich men, relying on the protection of those in office,
and clinging to them as the ivy clings to lofty trees, bought acquittals
at immense prices; and that poor men who had little or no means of
purchasing safety were condemned out of hand. And therefore truth was
overshadowed by falsehood, and sometimes falsehood obtained the
authority of truth.

10. In these days Gorgonius also was summoned to court, the man who had
been the Cæsar's principal chamberlain. And though it was made plain by
his own confession that he had been a partner in his undertakings, and
sometimes a chief instigator of them, yet through the conspiracy of the
eunuchs justice was overpowered by dexterously arranged falsehoods, and
he was acquitted and so escaped the danger.


§ 1. While these events were taking place at Milan, battalions of
soldiers were brought from the East to Aquileia, with a number of
members of the court, who, being broken in spirit, while their limbs
were enfeebled by the weight of their chains, cursed the protraction of
their lives which were surrounded with every variety of misery. For they
were accused of having been the ministers of the ferocity of Gallus, and
it was believed to be owing to them that Domitian had been torn to
pieces, and that Montius and others had been brought to destruction.

2. Arboreus, and Eusebius, at that time high chamberlain, both men of
insane arrogance, and equally unjust and cruel, were appointed to try
these men. And they, without any careful examination, or making any
distinction between the innocent and the guilty, condemned some to
scourgings, others to torture and exile, some they adjudged to serve in
the lowest ranks of the army, and the rest they condemned to death. And
when they had thus filled the sepulchres with dead bodies, they returned
as if in triumph, and brought an account of their exploits to the
emperor, who was notoriously severe and implacable against all offences
of the kind.

3. After this, throughout the rest of his reign, Constantius, as if
resolved to reverse the prescribed arrangement of the Fates, behaved
with greater violence than ever, and opened his heart to numbers of
designing plotters. And owing to this conduct, many men arose who
watched for all kinds of reports, at first attacking, as with the
appetite of wild beasts, those in the enjoyment of the highest honours
and rank, and afterwards both poor and rich indiscriminately. Not like
those Cibyratæ in the time of Verres,[32] fawning on the tribunal of a
single lieutenant, but harassing the limbs of the whole republic by
means of all the evils that arose anywhere.

4. Among these men Paulus and Mercurius were especially conspicuous, the
first a Dacian born, the latter a Persian. Mercurius was a notary, and
Paulus had been promoted from being a steward of the emperor's table to
a receivership in the provinces. Paulus, as I have already mentioned,
had been nicknamed The Chain, because in weaving knots of calumnies he
was invincible, scattering around foul poisons and destroying people by
various means, as some skilful wrestlers are wont in their contests to
catch hold of their antagonists by the heel.

5. Mercurius was nicknamed Count of Dreams, because (as a dog fond of
biting secretly fawns and wags his tail while full of inward spite) he
forced his way into feasts and companies, and if any one in his sleep
(when nature roves about with an extraordinary degree of freedom)
communicated to a friend that he had seen anything, exaggerated it,
colouring it for the most part with envenomed arts, and bore it to the
open ears of the emperor. And for such speeches men were attacked with
formidable accusations, as if they had committed inexpiable crimes.

6. The news of these events having got abroad, men were so cautious of
even relating nocturnal dreams, that, in the presence of a stranger,
they would scarcely confess they had slept at all. And some accomplished
men lamented that they had not been born in the country of Mount
Atlas,[33] where it is said that dreams never occur, though what the
cause of such a fact is, we must leave to those who are learned in such
matters to decide.

7. Amid all these terrible investigations and punishments, another
disaster took place in Illyricum, which from some empty words involved
many in danger. At an entertainment given by Africanus, the governor of
the second Pannonia, at Sirmium, some men having drunk rather too much,
and thinking there was no witness of their proceedings, spoke freely of
the existing imperial government, accusing it as most vexatious to the
people. And some of them expressed a hope that a change, such as was
wished for by all, might be at hand, affirming that this was portended
by omens, while some, with incredible rashness, affirmed that the
auguries of their ancestral house promised the same thing.

8. Among those present at the banquet was Gaudentius, one of the
secretaries, a stupid man, and of a hasty disposition. And he looking
upon the matter as serious, reported it to Rufinus, who was at that time
the chief commander of the guard of the prætorian prefecture, a man
always eager for the most cruel measures, and infamous for every kind of

9. He immediately, as if borne on wings, flew to the court of the
emperor, and so bitterly inflamed him, always easy of access and
susceptible of impressions from suspicious circumstances of this kind,
that without a moment's deliberation he ordered Africanus and all who
had been partakers of his fatal banquet to be seized. And when this was
done, the wicked informer, always fond of whatever is contrary to
popular manners, obtained what he most coveted, a continuation of his
existing office for two years.

10. To arrest these men, Teutomeres, the chief of the Protectores, was
sent with his colleague; and he loaded them all with chains, and
conducted them, as he had been ordered, to the emperor's court. But when
they arrived at Aquileia, Marinus, who from having been a drillmaster
had been promoted to a tribuneship, but who at that time had had no
particular duty, being a man who had held dangerous language, and who
was in other respects of an intemperate disposition, being left in an
inn while things necessary for the journey were being prepared, stabbed
himself with a knife which he accidentally found, and his bowels gushed
out, so that he died. The rest were conducted to Milan, and subjected to
torture; and having been forced by their agony to confess that while at
the banquet they had used some petulant expressions, were ordered to be
kept in penal confinement, with some hope, though an uncertain one, of
eventual release. But Teutomeres and his colleague, being accused of
having allowed Marinus to kill himself, were condemned to banishment,
though they were afterwards pardoned through the intercession of


§ 1. Soon after this transaction had been thus terminated, war was
declared against the tribes of the Allemanni around Lentia,[34] who had
often made extensive incursions into the contiguous Roman territories.
The emperor himself set out on the expedition, and went as far as
Rhætia, and the district of the Canini.[35] And there, after long and
careful deliberation, it was decided to be both honourable and expedient
that Arbetio, the master of the horse, should march with a division of
the troops, in fact with the greater part of the army, along the borders
of the lake of Brigantia, with the object of coming to an immediate
engagement with the barbarians. And I will here describe the character
of the ground briefly, as well as I can.

2. The Rhine rising among the defiles of lofty mountains, and forcing
its way with immense violence through steep rocks, stretches its onward
course without receiving any foreign waters, in the same manner as the
Nile pours down with headlong descent through the cataracts. And it is
so abundantly full by its own natural riches that it would be navigable
up to its very source were it not like a torrent rather than a stream.

3. And soon after it has disentangled itself from its defiles, rolling
onward between high banks, it enters a vast lake of circular form, which
the Rhætian natives call Brigantia,[36] being four hundred and sixty
furlongs in length, and of nearly equal extent in breadth,
unapproachable on account of a vast mass of dark woods, except where the
energy of the Romans has made a wide road through them, in spite of the
hostility of the barbarians, and the unfavourable character both of the
ground and the climate.

4. The Rhine forcing its way into this pool, and roaring with its
foaming eddies, pierces the sluggish quiet of the waters, and rushes
through the middle from one end to the other. And like an element
separated from some other element by eternal discord, without any
increase or diminution of the volume of water which it has brought into
the lake, it comes forth from it again with its old name and its
unalloyed power, never having suffered from the contact, and so proceeds
till it mingles with the waves of the sea.

5. And what is exceedingly strange, the lake is not moved at all by this
rapid passage of the river through it, nor is it affected by the muddy
soil beneath the waters of the lake; the two bodies of water being
incapable of mingling with each other. A thing which would be supposed
impossible, did not the very sight of the lake prove the fact.

6. In a similar manner, the Alpheus, rising in Arcadia, being seized
with a love for the fountain Arethusa,[37] passing through the Ionian
sea, as is related by the poets, proceeds onward till it arrives at the
neighbourhood of its beloved fountain.

       *       *       *       *       *

7. Arbetio not choosing to wait till messengers arrived to announce the
approach of the barbarians, although he knew the fierce way in which
they begin their wars, allowed himself to be betrayed into a hidden
ambush, where he stood without the power of moving, being bewildered by
the suddenness of his disaster.

8. In the mean time the enemy, showing themselves, sprang forth from
their hiding-places and spared not one who came in their way, but
overwhelmed them with every kind of weapon. For none of our men could
offer the smallest resistance, nor was there any hope of any of them
being able to save their lives except by a speedy flight. Therefore,
being intent only on avoiding wounds, our soldiers, losing all order,
ran almost at random in every direction, exposing their backs to the
blows of the enemy. Nevertheless the greater part of them, scattering
themselves among narrow paths, were saved from danger by the protecting
darkness of the night, and at the return of day recovered their courage
and rejoined their different legions. But still by this sad and
unexpected disaster a vast number of common soldiers and ten tribunes
were slain.

9. The Allemanni were greatly elated at this event, and advanced with
increased boldness, every day coming up to the fortifications of the
Romans while the morning mists obscured the light; and drawing their
swords roamed about in every direction, gnashing their teeth, and
threatening us with haughty shouts. Then with a sudden sally our
Scutarii would rush forth, and after being stopped for a moment by the
resistance of the hostile squadrons, would call out all their comrades
to join them in the engagement.

10. But the greater part of our men were alarmed by the recollection of
their recent disaster, and Arbetio hesitated, thinking everything
pregnant with danger. Upon this three tribunes at once sallied forth,
Arintheus who was a lieutenant commander of the heavy troops, Seniauchus
who commanded the cavalry of the Comites,[38] and Bappo who had the
command of the Promoti[39] and of those troops who had been particularly
intrusted to his charge by the emperor.

11. These men, looking on the common cause as their own, resolved to
repel the violence of the enemy according to the example of their
ancient comrades. And pouring down upon the foe like a torrent, not in a
regular line of battle, but in desultory attacks like those of banditti,
they put them all to flight in a disgraceful manner. Since they, being
in loose order and straggling, and hampered by their endeavours to
escape, exposed their unprotected bodies to our weapons, and were slain
by repeated blows of sword and spear.

12. Many too were slain with their horses, and seemed as they lay on
their backs to be so entangled as still to be sitting on them. And when
this was seen, all our men who had previously hesitated to engage in
battle with their comrades, poured forth out of the camp; and now,
forgetful of all precautions, they drove before them the mob of
barbarians, except such as flight had saved from destruction, trampling
on the heaps of slain, and covered with gore.

13. When the battle was thus terminated the emperor in triumph and joy
returned to Milan to winter quarters.


A.D. 355.

§ 1. After these unhappy circumstances, accompanied as they were with
equal calamities in the provinces, a whirlwind of new misfortunes arose
which seemed likely to destroy the whole state at once, if Fortune,
which regulates the events of human life, had not terminated a state of
affairs which all regarded with great apprehension, by bringing the
dangers to a speedy issue.

2. From the long neglect with which these provinces had been treated,
the Gauls, having no assistance on which to rely, had borne cruel
massacres, with plunder and conflagration, from barbarians who raged
throughout their land with impunity. Silvanus, the commander of the
infantry, being a man well suited to correct these evils, went thither
at the command of the emperor, Arbetio at the same time urging with all
his power that this task should be undertaken without delay, with the
object of imposing the dangerous burden of this duty on his absent
rival, whom he was vexed to see still in prosperity....

3. There was a certain man named Dynamius, the superintendent of the
emperor's beasts of burden, who had begged of Silvanus recommendatory
letters to his friends as of one who was admitted to his most intimate
friendship. Having obtained this favour, as Silvanus, having no
suspicion of any evil intention, had with great simplicity granted what
he was asked, Dynamius kept the letters, in order at a future time to
plan something to his injury.

4. Therefore, when the aforesaid commander had gone to the Gauls in the
service of the republic, and while he was engaged in repelling the
barbarians, who already began to distrust their own power, and to be
filled with alarm, Dynamius, being restless, like a man of cunning and
practised deceitfulness, devised a wicked plot; and in this it is said
he had for his accomplices Lampadius, the prefect of the prætorian
guard, Eusebius, who had been the superintendent of the emperor's privy
purse, and was known by the nickname of Mattyocopa,[40] and Ædesius,
formerly keeper of the records, whom this prefect had contrived to have
elected consul, as being his dearest friend. He then with a sponge
effaced the contents of the letters, leaving nothing but the address,
and inserted a text materially differing from the original writing, as
if Silvanus had asked, by indirect hints, and entreated his friends who
were within the palace, and those who had no office (among whom was
Albinus of Etruria, and many others), to aid him in projects of loftier
ambition, as one who would soon attain the imperial throne. This bundle
of letters he thus made up, inventing at his leisure, in order with them
to endanger the life of this innocent man.

5. Dynamius was appointed to investigate these charges on behalf of the
emperor; and while he was artfully weaving these and similar plans, he
contrived to enter alone into the imperial chamber, choosing his
opportunity, and hoping to entangle firmly in his meshes the most
vigilant guardian of the emperor's safety. And being full of wicked
cunning, after he had read the forged packet of letters in the council
chamber, the tribunes were ordered to be committed to custody, and also
several private individuals were commanded to be arrested and brought up
from the provinces, whose names were mentioned in those letters.

6. But presently Malarichus, the commander of the Gentiles, being struck
with the iniquity of the business, and taking his colleagues to his
counsel, spoke out loudly that men devoted to the preservation of the
emperor ought not to be circumvented by factions and treachery. He
accordingly demanded that he himself, his nearest relations being left
as hostages, and Mallobaudes, the tribune of the heavy-armed soldiers,
giving bail that he would return, might be commissioned to go with speed
to bring back Silvanus, who he was certain had never entertained the
idea of any such attempt as these bitter plotters had imputed to him.
Or, as an alternative, he entreated that he might become security for
Mallobaudes, and that their officers might be permitted to go and do
what he had proposed to take upon himself.

7. For he affirmed that he knew beyond all question that, if any
stranger were sent, Silvanus, who was inclined to be somewhat
apprehensive of danger, even when no circumstances were really
calculated to alarm him, would very likely throw matters into confusion.

8. But, although the advice which he gave was useful and necessary, he
spoke as to the winds, to no purpose. For by the counsels of Arbetio,
Apodemius, who was a persevering and bitter enemy to all good men, was
sent with letters to summon Silvanus to the presence. When he had
arrived in Gaul, taking no heed of the commission with which he was
charged, and caring but little for anything that might happen, he
remained inactive, without either seeing Silvanus, or delivering the
letters which commanded him to appear at court. And having taken the
receiver of the province into his counsels, he began with arrogance and
malevolence to harass the clients and servants of the master of the
horse, as if that officer had been already condemned and was on the
point of being executed.

9. In the mean time, while the arrival of Silvanus was looked for, and
while Apodemius was throwing everything, though quiet before, into
commotion, Dynamius, that he might by still more convincing proofs
establish belief in his wicked plots, had sent other forged letters
(agreeing with the previous ones which he had brought under the
emperor's notice by the agency of the prefect) to the tribune of the
factory at Cremona: these were written in the names of Silvanus and
Malarichus, in which the tribune, as one privy to their secrets, was
warned to lose no time in having everything in readiness.

10. But when this tribune had read the whole of the letters, he was for
some time in doubt and perplexity as to what they could mean (for he did
not recollect that those persons whose letters he had thus received had
ever spoken with him upon private transactions of any kind); and
accordingly he sent the letters themselves, by the courier who had
brought them, to Malarichus, sending a soldier also with him; and
entreated Malarichus to explain in intelligible language what he wanted,
and not to use such obscure terms. For he declared that he, being but a
plain and somewhat rude man, had not in the least understood what was
intimated so obscurely.

11. Malarichus the moment he received the letters, being already in
sorrow and anxiety, and alarmed for his own fate and that of his
countryman Silvanus, called around him the Franks, of whom at that time
there was a great multitude in the palace, and in resolute language laid
open and proved the falsehood of the machinations by which their lives
were threatened, and was loud in his complaints.

12. When these things became known to the emperor, he appointed the
members of his secret council and the chief officers of his army to make
further investigation of the matter. And when the judges appeared to
make light of it, Florentius the son of Nigridianus, who at that time
filled the post of master of the offices,[41] having examined the
writings carefully, and detecting beneath them some vestiges of the tops
of the former words which had been effaced, perceived, as was indeed the
case, that by interpolations of the original letter, matters very
different from any of which Silvanus was author had been written over
them, according to the fancy of the contriver of this forgery.

13. On this the cloud of treachery was dispersed, and the emperor,
informed of the truth by a faithful report, recalled the powers granted
to the prefect, and ordered him to be submitted to an examination.
Nevertheless he was acquitted through the active combination of many of
his friends; while Eusebius, the former treasurer of the emperor's
secret purse, being put to the torture, confessed that these things had
been done with his privity.

14. Ædesius, affirming with obstinate denial that he had never known
anything which had been done in the matter, escaped, being adjudged
innocent. And thus the transaction was brought to an end, and all those
who had been accused in the original information were acquitted; and
Dynamius, as a man of exceeding accomplishments and prudence, was
appointed to govern Etruria with the rank of corrector.

15. While these affairs were proceeding, Silvanus was living at
Agrippina,[42] and having learnt by continual information sent to him
by his friends what Apodemius was doing with the hope of effecting his
ruin; and knowing also how impressible the mind of the feeble emperor
was; began to fear lest in his absence, and without being convicted of
any crime, he might still be treated as a criminal. And so, being placed
in a situation of the greatest difficulty, he began to think of trusting
himself to the good faith of the barbarians.

16. But being dissuaded from this by Laniogaisus, at that time a
tribune, whom we have already spoken of as the only person who was
present with Constans when he was dying, himself serving at that time as
a volunteer; and being assured by Laniogaisus that the Franks, of whom
he himself was a countryman, would put him to death, or else betray him
for a bribe, he saw no safety anywhere in the present emergency, and so
was driven to extreme counsels. And by degrees, having secretly
conferred with the chiefs of the principal legions, and having excited
them by the magnitude of promised rewards, he tore for use on this
occasion the purple silk from the insignia of the dragons[43] and
standards, and so assumed the title of emperor.

17. And while these events are passing in Gaul, one day, a little before
sunset, an unexpected messenger arrived at Milan, relating fully that
Silvanus, being ambitious to rise above his place as commander of the
infantry, had tampered with the army, and assumed the imperial dignity.

18. Constantius, at this amazing and unexpected event, seemed as if
struck by a thunderbolt of fate, and having at once summoned a council
to meet at the second watch, all the nobles hastened to the palace. No
one had either mind to conceive or tongue to recommend what was best to
be done; but in suppressed tones they mentioned the name of Ursicinus as
a man eminent for skill in affairs of war, and one who had been
undeservedly exposed to most injurious treatment. He was immediately
sent for by the principal chamberlain, which is the most honourable kind
of summons, and as soon as he entered the council-chamber was offered
the purple to salute much more graciously than at any former time.
Diocletian was the first who introduced the custom of offering reverence
to the emperor after this foreign manner and royal pretension; whereas
all former princes, as we read, had been saluted like judges.

19. And so the man who a little while before, through the malevolent
persecution of certain of the courtiers, had been termed the whirlpool
of the East, and who had been accused of a design to aim at the supreme
power for his sons, was now recommended as one who was a most skilful
general, who had been the comrade of the great Constantine, and as the
only man capable of extinguishing the threatened conflagration. And
though the reasons for which he was sent for were honest, they were not
wholly free from underhand motives. For while great anxiety was felt
that Silvanus should be destroyed as a most formidable rebel, yet, if
that object miscarried, it was thought that Ursicinus, being damaged by
the failure, would himself easily be ruined; so that no scruple, which
else was to be feared, would interpose to save him from destruction.

20. While arrangements were being made for accelerating his journey, the
general was preparing to repel the charges which had been brought
against him; but the emperor prevented him, forbidding him in
conciliatory language, saying that this was not an opportunity suitable
for undertaking any controversy in defence of his cause, when the
imminent necessity of affairs rather prompted that no delay should be
interposed to the restoration of parties to their pristine concord
before the disunion got worse.

21. Therefore, after a long deliberation about many things, the first
and most important matter in which consultation was held, was by what
means Silvanus could be led to think the emperor still ignorant of his
conduct. And the most likely manner to confirm him in his confidence
appeared to be that he should be informed, in a complimentary despatch,
that Ursicinus was appointed his successor, and that he was invited to
return to court with undiminished power.

22. After this affair was arranged, the officer who had brought the news
to Milan was ordered to depart with some tribunes and ten of the
Protectores and domestic guard as an escort, given to him at his own
request, to aid him in the discharge of his public duty. And of these I
myself was one, with my colleague Verrinianus; and all the rest were
either friends or relations of mine.

23. And now all of us, fearing mainly for ourselves, accompanied him a
long distance on his journey; and although we seemed as exposed to
danger as gladiators about to fight with wild beasts, yet considering in
our minds that evils are often the forerunners of good, we recollected
with admiration that expression of Cicero's, uttered by him in
accordance with the eternal maxims of truth, which runs in these
words:[44]--"And although it is a thing most desirable that one's
fortune should always continue in a most flourishing condition; still
that general level state of life brings not so much sensation of joy as
we feel when, after having been surrounded by disasters or by dangers,
fortune returns into a happier condition."

24. Accordingly we hastened onwards by forced journeys, in order that
the master of the horse, who was eager to acquire the honour of
suppressing the revolt, might make his appearance in the suspected
district before any rumour of the usurpation of Silvanus had spread
among the Italians. But rapidly as we hastened, fame, like the wind, had
outstripped us, and had revealed some part of the facts; and when we
reached Agrippina we found matters quite out of the reach of our

25. For a vast multitude of people, assembled from all quarters, were,
with a mixture of haste and alarm, strengthening the foundations of
Silvanus's enterprise, and a numerous military force was collected; so
that it seemed more advisable, on the existing emergency, for our
unfortunate general to await the intentions and pleasure of the new
emperor, who was assuring himself by ridiculous omens and signs that he
was gaining accessions of strength. By permitting his feelings of
security to increase, by different pretences of agreement and flattery,
Silvanus, it was thought, might be relieved from all fear of hostility,
and so be the more easily deceived.

26. But the accomplishment of such a design appeared difficult. For it
was necessary to use great care and watchfulness to make our desires
subordinate to our opportunities, and to prevent their either outrunning
them, or falling behind them; since if our wishes were allowed to become
known unseasonably, it was plain we should all be involved in one
sentence of death.

27. However our general was kindly received, and (the very business
itself forcing us to bend our necks), having been compelled to prostrate
himself with all solemnity before the newly robed prince, still aiming
at higher power, was treated as a highly favoured and eminent friend;
having freedom of access and the honour of a seat at the royal table
granted to him in preference to every one else, in order that he might
be consulted with the more secrecy about the principal affairs of state.

28. Silvanus expressed his indignation that, while unworthy persons had
been raised to the consulship and to other high dignities, he and
Ursicinus alone, after the frequent and great toils which they had
endured for the sake of the republic, had been so despised that he
himself had been accused of treason in consequence of the examination of
some slaves, and had been exposed to an ignoble trial; while Ursicinus
had been brought over from the East, and placed at the mercy of his
enemies; and these were the subjects of his incessant complaints both in
public and in private.

29. While, however, he was holding this kind of language, we were
alarmed at the murmurs of our soldiers who were now suffering from want,
which surrounded us on all sides; the troops showing every eagerness to
make a rapid march, through the defiles of the Cottian Alps.

30. In this state of anxiety and agitation, we occupied ourselves in
secretly deliberating on the means of arriving at our object; and at
length, after our plans had been repeatedly changed out of fear, it was
determined to use great industry in seeking out prudent agents, binding
them to secrecy by solemn oaths, in order to tamper with the Gallic
soldiers whom we knew to be men of doubtful fidelity, and at any time
open to change for a sufficient reward.

31. Therefore, after we had secured our success by the address of some
agents among the common soldiers, men by their very obscurity fitted for
the accomplishment of such a task, and now excited by the expectation of
reward, at sunrise, as soon as the east began to redden, a band of armed
men suddenly sallied forth, and, as is common in critical moments,
behaving with more than usual audacity. They slew the sentinels and
penetrated into the palace, and so having dragged Silvanus out of a
little chapel in which, in his terror, he had taken refuge on his way to
a conventicle devoted to the ceremonies of the Christian worship, they
slew him with repeated strokes of their swords.

32. In this way did a general of no slight merit perish, through fear of
false accusations heaped on him in his absence by a faction of wicked
men, and which drove him to the utmost extremities in order to preserve
his safety.

33. For although he had acquired strong claims on the gratitude of
Constantius by his seasonable sally with his troops before the battle of
Mursa, and although he could boast the valorous exploits of his father
Bonitus, a man of Frankish extraction, but who had espoused the party of
Constantine, and often in the civil war had exhibited great prowess
against the troops of Licinius, still he always feared him as a prince
of wavering and fickle character.

34. Now before any of these events had taken place in Gaul, it happened
that one day in the Circus Maximus at Rome, the populace cried out with
a loud voice, "Silvanus is conquered." Whether influenced by instinct or
by some prophetic spirit, cannot be decided.

35. Silvanus having been slain, as I have narrated, at Agrippina, the
emperor was seized with inconceivable joy when he heard the news, and
gave way to exceeding insolence and arrogance, attributing this event
also to the prosperous course of his good fortune; giving the reins to
his habitual disposition which always led him to hate men of brave
conduct, as Domitian in former times had done, and desiring at all
times to destroy them by every act of opposition.

36. And he was so far from praising even his act of diligence and
fidelity, that he recorded in writing a charge that Ursicinus had
embezzled a part of the Gallic treasures, which no one had ever touched.
And he ordered strict inquiry to be made into the fact, by an
examination of Remigius, who was at that time accountant-general to
Ursicinus in his capacity of commander of the heavy troops. And long
afterwards, in the time of Valentinian, this Remigius hung himself on
account of the trouble into which he fell in the matter of his
appointment as legate in Tripolis.

37. And after this business was terminated, Constantius, thinking his
prosperity had now raised him to an equality with the gods, and had
bestowed on him entire sovereignty over human affairs, gave himself up
to elation at the praises of his flatterers, whom he himself encouraged,
despising and trampling under foot all who were unskilled in that kind
of court. As we read that Croesus, when he was king, drove Solon
headlong from his court because he would not fawn on him; and that
Dionysius threatened the poet Philoxenus with death because, when the
king recited his absurd and unrhythmical verses, he alone refused to
fall into an ecstasy while all the rest of the courtiers praised them.

38. And this mischievous taste is the nurse of vices; for praise ought
only to be acceptable in high places, where blame also is permitted when
things are not sufficiently performed.


§ 1. And now, after the re-establishment of security, investigations as
usual were set on foot, and many persons were put in prison as guilty.
For that infernal informer Paulus, boiling over with delight, arose to
exercise his poisonous employment with increased freedom, and while the
members of the emperor's council and the military officers were employed
in the investigation of these affairs, as they were commanded, Proculus
was put to the torture, who had been a servant of Silvanus, a man of
weak body and of ill health; so that every one was afraid lest the
exceeding violence of his torture should prove too much for his feeble
limbs, so that he would expose numbers to be implicated in the
accusations of atrocious crimes. But the result proved quite different
to what had been expected.

2. For remembering a dream in which he had been forbidden, while asleep,
as he affirmed, to accuse any innocent person, though he should be
tortured till he was brought to the very point of death, he neither
informed against, nor even named any one; but, with reference to the
usurpation of Silvanus, he invariably asserted that he had been driven
to contemplate that act, not out of ambition, but from sheer necessity;
and he proved this assertion by evident arguments.

3. For he adduced one important excuse, which was established by the
testimony of many persons, that, five days before he assumed the ensigns
of imperial authority, he addressed the soldiers, while distributing
their pay to them, in the name of Constantius, exhorting them to prove
always brave and loyal. From which it was plain that if he had then been
thinking of seizing on a loftier fortune, he would have given them this
money as if it had proceeded from himself.

4. After Proculus, Poemenius was condemned and put to death: he who,
as we have mentioned before,[45] when the Treveri had shut their gates
against Cæsar Decentius, was chosen to defend that people. After him,
Asclepiodotus, and Luto, and Maudio, all Counts, were put to death, and
many others also, the obdurate cruelty of the times seeking for these
and similar punishments with avidity.


§ 1. While the fatal disturbances of the state multiplied these general
slaughters, Leontius, who was the governor of Rome itself, gave many
proofs of his deserving the character of an admirable judge; being
prompt in hearing cases, rigidly just in deciding them, and merciful by
nature, although, for the sake of maintaining lawful authority, he
appeared to some people to be severe. He was also of a somewhat amorous

2. The first pretext for exciting any sedition against him was a most
slight and trumpery one. For when an order had been issued to arrest a
charioteer, named Philoromus, the whole populace followed him, as if
resolved to defend something of their own, and with terrible violence
assailed the prefect, presuming him to be timorous. But he remained
unmoved and upright, and sending his officers among the crowd, arrested
some and punished them, and then, without any one venturing to oppose
him, or even to murmur, condemned them to banishment.

3. A few days later the populace again became excited to its customary
frenzy, and alleging as a grievance the scarcity of wine, assembled at
the well-known place called Septemzodium, where the Emperor Marcus built
the Nymphæum,[46] an edifice of great magnificence. To that place the
prefect went forthwith, although he was earnestly entreated by all his
household and civil officers not to trust himself among an arrogant and
threatening multitude, now in a state of fury equal to any of their
former commotions; but he, unsusceptible of fear, went right onwards,
though many of his attendants deserted him, when they saw him hastening
into imminent danger.

4. Therefore, sitting in a carriage, with every appearance of
confidence, he looked with fierce eyes at the countenance of the
tumultuous mobs thronging towards him from all quarters, and agitating
themselves like serpents. And after suffering many bitter insults, at
last, when he had recognized one man who was conspicuous among all the
rest by his vast size and red hair, he asked him whether his name was
Petrus Valvomeres, as he had heard it was; and when the man replied in a
defiant tone that it was so, Leontius, in spite of the outcries of many
around, ordered him to be seized as one who had long since been a
notorious ringleader of the disaffected, and having his hands bound
behind him, commanded him to be suspended on a rack.

5. And when he was seen in the air, in vain imploring the aid of his
fellow-tribesmen, the whole mob, which a little while before was so
closely packed, dispersed at once over the different quarters of the
city, so as to offer no hindrance to the punishment of this seditious
leader, who after having been thus tortured--with as little resistance
as if he been in a secret dungeon of the court--was transported to
Picenum, where, on a subsequent occasion, having offered violence to a
virgin of high rank, he was condemned to death by the judgment of
Patruinus, a noble of consular dignity.

6. While Leontius governed the city in this manner, Liberius, a priest
of the Christian law, was ordered by Constantius to be brought before
the council, as one who had resisted the commands of the emperor, and
the decrees of many of his own colleagues, in an affair which I will
explain briefly.

7. Athanasius was at that time bishop of Alexandria; and as he was a man
who sought to magnify himself above his profession, and to mix himself
up with affairs which did not belong to his province, as continual
reports made known, an assembly of many of his sect met together--a
synod, as they call it--and deprived him of the right of administering
the sacraments, which he previously enjoyed.

8. For it was said that he, being very deeply skilled in the arts of
prophecy and the interpretation of auguries and omens, had very often
predicted coming events. And to these charges were added others very
inconsistent with the laws of the religion over which he presided.

9. So Liberius, being of the same opinion with those who condemned these
practices, was ordered, by the sentence of the emperor, to expel
Athanasius from his priestly seat; but this he firmly refused to do,
reiterating the assertion that it was the extremity of wickedness to
condemn a man who had neither been brought before any court nor been
heard in his defence, in this openly resisting the commands of the

10. For that prince, being always unfavourable to Athanasius, although
he knew that what he ordered had in fact taken effect, yet was
exceedingly desirous that it should be confirmed by that authority which
the bishops of the Eternal City enjoy, as being of higher rank. And as
he did not succeed in this, Liberius was removed by night; a measure
which was not effected without great difficulty, through the fear which
his enemies had of the people, among whom he was exceedingly popular.


§ 1. These events, then, took place at Rome, as I have already
mentioned. But Constantius was agitated by frequent intelligence which
assured him that the Gauls were in a lamentable condition, since no
adequate resistance could be made to the barbarians who were now
carrying their devastations with fire and sword over the whole country.
And after deliberating a long time, in great anxiety, what force he
could employ to repel these dangers (himself remaining in Italy, as he
thought it very dangerous to remove into so remote a country), he at
last determined on a wise plan, which was this: to associate with
himself in the cares of the empire his cousin Julian, whom he had some
time before summoned to court, and who still retained the robe he had
worn in the Greek schools.

2. And when, oppressed by the heavy weight of impending calamities, he
had confessed to his dearest friends that by himself he was unequal to
the burden of such weighty and numerous difficulties--a thing which he
had never felt before--they, being trained to excessive flattery, tried
to fill him with foolish ideas, affirming that there was nothing in the
world so difficult but what his pre-eminent virtue and his good fortune,
equal to that of the gods, would be able to overcome, as it always
hitherto had done. And many of them added further, being stung by their
consciousness of guilt, that henceforth he ought to beware of conferring
the title of Cæsar on any one, enumerating the deeds which had been done
in the time of Gallus.

3. They therefore opposed his design resolutely, and it was supported by
no one but the queen, who, whether it was that she feared a journey to a
distant country, or that, from her own natural wisdom, she saw the best
course for the common good, urged him that a relation like Julian ought
to be preferred to every one else. Accordingly, after many undecided
deliberations and long discussions, his resolution was at last taken
decidedly, and having discarded all further vain debate, he resolved on
associating Julian with him in the empire.

4. He was therefore summoned; and when he had arrived, on a fixed day,
the whole of his fellow-comrades who were in the city were ordered to
attend, and a tribunal was erected on a lofty scaffolding, surrounded by
the eagles and standards. And Augustus, mounting it, and holding Julian
by the right hand, made this conciliatory speech:--

5. "We stand here before you, most excellent defenders of the republic,
to avenge with one unanimous spirit the common dangers of the state. And
how I propose to provide for it I will briefly explain to you, as
impartial judges.

6. "After the death of those rebellious tyrants whom rage and madness
prompted to engage in the enterprises which they undertook, the
barbarians, as if they meant to sacrifice unto their wicked manes with
Roman blood, having violated the peace and invaded the territories of
the Gauls, are encouraged by this consideration, that our empire, being
spread over very remote countries, causes us to be beset with great

7. "If, then, your decision and mine are mutual to encounter this evil,
already progressing beyond the barriers which were opposed to it, while
there is still time to check it, the necks of these haughty nations will
learn to humble their pride, and the borders of the empire will remain
inviolate. It remains for you to give, by your strength, prosperous
effect to the hopes which I entertain.

8. "You all know my cousin Julian, whom I here present to you; a youth
endeared to us by his modesty as well as by his relationship; a youth of
virtue already proved, and of conspicuous industry and energy. Him I
have determined to raise to the rank of Cæsar, and hope, if this seems
expedient to you, to have my decision confirmed by your consent."

9. He was proceeding to say more, but was prevented by the whole
assembly interrupting him with friendly shouts, declaring that his
decision was the judgment of the Supreme Deity, and not of any human
mind; with such certainty that one might have thought them inspired
with the spirit of prophecy.

10. The emperor stood without moving till they resumed silence, and then
with greater confidence proceeded to explain what he had to say further.

"Because, therefore, your joyful acclamations show that you look
favourably on the design I have announced, let this youth, of tranquil
strength, whose temperate disposition it will be better to imitate than
merely to praise, rise up now to receive the honours prepared for him.
His excellent disposition, increased as it has been by all liberal
accomplishments, I will say no more of than is seen in the fact that I
have chosen him. Therefore, now, with the manifest consent of the Deity,
I will clothe him with the imperial robe."

11. This was his speech. And then, having immediately clothed Julian
with the purple robe of his ancestors, and having pronounced him Cæsar,
to the great joy of the army, he thus addressed him, though Julian
himself appeared by his grave countenance to be somewhat melancholy.

12. "Most beloved of all my brothers, you thus in early youth have
received the splendid honour belonging to your birth, not, I confess,
without some addition to my own glory; who thus show myself as just in
conferring supreme power on a noble character nearly related to me, as I
appear also sublime by virtue of my own power. Come thou, therefore, to
be a partner in my labours and dangers, and undertake the defence of the
government of the Gauls, devoting thyself with all beneficence to
alleviate the calamities of those afflicted countries.

13. "And if it should be necessary to engage with the enemy in battle,
do thou take thy place steadily among the standard-bearers themselves,
as a prudent encourager of daring at the proper opportunity; exciting
the warriors by leading them on with caution, supporting any troops
which may be thrown into disorder by reserves, gently reproving those
who hang back, and being present as a trustworthy witness of the actions
of all, whether brave or timid.

14. "Think that a serious crisis is upon us, and so show yourself a
great man, worthy to command brave men. We ourselves will stand by you
in the energetic constancy of affection, or will join you in the
labours of war, so that we may govern together the whole world in peace,
if only God will grant us, as we pray he may, to govern with equal
moderation and piety. You will everywhere represent me, and I also will
never desert you in whatever task you may be engaged. To sum up: Go
forth; go forth supported by the friendly prayers of men of all ranks,
to defend with watchful care the station assigned to you, it may be
said, by the republic itself."

15. After the emperor had thus ended his speech, no one held his peace,
but all the soldiers, with a tremendous crash, rattled their shields
against their knees (which is an abundant indication of applause; while
on the other hand to strike the shield with the spear is a testimony of
anger and indignation), and it was marvellous with what excessive joy
they all, except a very few, showed their approbation of the judgment of
Augustus: and they received the Cæsar with well-deserved admiration,
brilliant as he was with the splendour of the imperial purple.

16. And while they gazed earnestly on his eyes, terrible in their
beauty, and his countenance more attractive than ever by reason of his
present excitement, they augured from his looks what kind of ruler he
was likely to prove, as if they had been searching into those ancient
volumes which teach how to judge of a man's moral disposition by the
external signs on his person. And that he might be regarded with the
greater reverence, they neither praised him above measure, nor yet below
his desert. And so the voices raised in his favour were looked upon as
the judgment of censors, not of soldiers.

17. After the ceremony was over, Julian was taken up into the imperial
chariot and received into the palace, and was heard to whisper to
himself this verse of Homer--

  "Now purple death hath seized on me,
  And powerful strength of destiny."

These transactions took place on the sixth of November, in the year of
the consulship of Arbetio and Lollianus.

18. A few days afterwards, Helen, the maiden sister of Constantius, was
also given in marriage to the Cæsar. And everything being got ready
which the journey required, he started on the first of December with a
small retinue, and having been escorted on his way by Augustus himself
as far as the spot, marked by two pillars, which lies between Laumellum
and Ticinum, he proceeded straight on to the country of the Taurini,
where he received disastrous intelligence, which had recently reached
the emperor's court, but still had been intentionally kept back, lest
all the preparations made for his journey should be wasted.

19. And this intelligence was that Colonia Agrippina,[47] a city of
great renown in lower Germany, had been carried by a vigorous siege of
the barbarians, who appeared before it in great force, and had utterly
destroyed it.

20. Julian being greatly distressed at this news, looking on it as a
kind of omen of misfortunes to come, was often heard to murmur in
querulous tones, "that he had gained nothing except the fate of dying
amid greater trouble and employment than before."

21. But when he arrived at Vienne, people of every age and class went
forth to meet him on his entrance to the city, with a view to do him
honour by their reception of him as one who had been long wished for,
and was now granted to their prayers. And when he was seen in the
distance the whole population of the city and of the adjacent
neighbourhood, going before his chariot, celebrated his praises,
saluting him as Emperor, clement and prosperous, greeting with eager joy
this royal procession in honour of a lawful prince. And they placed all
their hopes of a remedy for the evils which affected the whole province
on his arrival, thinking that now, when their affairs were in a most
desperate condition, some friendly genius had come to shine upon them.

22. And a blind old woman, when in reply to her question "Who was
entering the city?" she received for answer "Julian the Cæsar," cried
out that "He would restore the temples of the gods."


§ 1. Now then, since, as the sublime poet of Mantua has sung, "A greater
series of incident rises to my view; in a more arduous task I
engage,"--I think it a proper opportunity to describe the situation and
different countries of the Gauls, lest, among the narration of fiery
preparations and the various chances of battles, I should seem, while
speaking of matters not understood by every one, to resemble those
negligent sailors, who, when tossed about by dangerous waves and storms,
begin to repair their sails and ropes which they might have attended to
in calm weather.

2. Ancient writers, pursuing their investigations into the earliest
origin of the Gauls, left our knowledge of the truth very imperfect; but
at a later period, Timagenes, a thorough Greek both in diligence and
language, collected, from various writings facts which had been long
unknown, and guided by his faithful statements, we, dispelling all
obscurity, will now give a plain and intelligible relation of them.

3. Some persons affirm that the first inhabitants ever seen in these
regions were called Celts, after the name of their king, who was very
popular among them, and sometimes also Galatæ, after the name of his
mother. For Galatæ is the Greek translation of the Roman term Galli.
Others affirm that they are Dorians, who, following a more ancient
Hercules, selected for their home the districts bordering on the ocean.

4. The Druids affirm that a portion of the people was really indigenous
to the soil, but that other inhabitants poured in from the islands on
the coast, and from the districts across the Rhine, having been driven
from their former abodes by frequent wars, and sometimes by inroads of
the tempestuous sea.

5. Some again maintain that after the destruction of Troy, a few Trojans
fleeing from the Greeks, who were then scattered over the whole world,
occupied these districts, which at that time had no inhabitants at all.

6. But the natives of these countries affirm this more positively than
any other fact (and, indeed, we ourselves have read it engraved on their
monuments), that Hercules, the son of Amphitryon, hastening to the
destruction of those cruel tyrants, Geryon and Tauriscus, one of whom
was oppressing the Gauls, and the other Spain, after he had conquered
both of them, took to wife some women of noble birth in those countries,
and became the father of many children; and that his sons called the
districts of which they became the kings after their own names.

7. Also an Asiatic tribe coming from Phocæa in order to escape the
cruelty of Harpalus, the lieutenant of Cyrus the king, sought to sail to
Italy.[48] And a part of them founded Velia, in Lucania, others settled
a colony at Marseilles, in the territory of Vienne; and then, in
subsequent ages, these towns increasing in strength and importance,
founded other cities. But we must avoid a variety of details which are
commonly apt to weary.

8. Throughout these provinces, the people gradually becoming civilized,
the study of liberal accomplishments flourished, having been first
introduced by the Bards, the Eubages,[49] and the Druids. The Bards were
accustomed to employ themselves in celebrating the brave achievements of
their illustrious men, in epic verse, accompanied with sweet airs on the
lyre. The Eubages investigated the system and sublime secrets of nature,
and sought to explain them to their followers. Between these two came
the Druids, men of loftier genius, bound in brotherhoods according to
the precepts and example of Pythagoras; and their minds were elevated by
investigations into secret and sublime matters, and from the contempt
which they entertained for human affairs they pronounced the soul


§ 1. This country then of the Gauls was by reason of its lofty mountain
ranges perpetually covered with terrible snows, almost unknown to the
inhabitants of the rest of the world, except where it borders on the
ocean; vast fortresses raised by nature, in the place of art,
surrounding it on all sides.

2. On the southern side it is washed by the Etruscan and Gallic sea:
where it looks towards the north it is separated from the tribes of the
barbarians by the river Rhine; where it is placed under the western star
it is bounded by the ocean, and the lofty chain of the Pyrenees; where
it has an eastern aspect it is bounded by the Cottian[50] Alps. In these
mountains King Cottius, after the Gauls had been subdued, lying by
himself in their defiles, and relying on the rugged and pathless
character of the country, long maintained his independence; though
afterwards he abated his pride, and was admitted to the friendship of
the Emperor Octavianus. And subsequently he constructed immense works to
serve as a splendid gift to the emperor, making roads over them, short,
and convenient for travellers, between other ancient passes of the Alps;
on which subject we will presently set forth what discoveries have been

3. In these Cottian Alps, which begin at the town of Susa, one vast
ridge rises up, scarcely passable by any one without danger.

4. For to travellers who reach it from the side of Gaul it descends with
a steepness almost precipitous, being terrible to behold, in consequence
of the bulk of its overhanging rocks. In the spring, when the ice is
melting, and the snow beginning to give way from the warm spring
breezes, if any one seeks to descend along the mountain, men and beasts
and wagons all fall together through the fissures and clefts in the
rocks, which yawn in every direction, though previously hidden by the
frost. And the only remedy ever found to ward off entire destruction is
to have many vehicles bound together with enormous ropes, with men or
oxen hanging on behind, to hold them back with great efforts; and so
with a crouching step they get down with some degree of safety. And
this, as I have said, is what happens in the spring.

5. But in winter, the ground being covered over with a smooth crust of
ice, and therefore slippery under foot, the traveller is often plunged
headlong; and the valleys, which seem to open here and there into wide
plains, which are merely a covering of treacherous ice, sometimes
swallow up those who try to pass over them. On account of which danger
those who are acquainted with the country fix projecting wooden piles
over the safest spots, in order that a series of them may conduct the
traveller unhurt to his destination; though if these piles get covered
with snow and hidden, or thrown down by melting torrents descending from
the mountains, then it is difficult for any one to pass, even if natives
of the district lead the way.

6. But on the summit of this Italian mountain there is a plain, seven
miles in extent, reaching as far as the station known by the name of
Mars; and after that comes another ridge, still more steep, and scarcely
possible to be climbed, which stretches on to the summit of Mons
Matrona, named so from an event which happened to a noble lady.

7. From this point a path, steep indeed, but easily passable, leads to
the fortress of Virgantia.[51] The sepulchre of this petty prince whom
we have spoken of as the maker of these roads is at Susa, close to the
walls; and his remains are honoured with religious veneration for two
reasons: first of all, because he governed his people with equitable
moderation; and secondly, because, by becoming an ally of the Roman
republic, he procured lasting tranquillity for his subjects.

8. And although this road which I have been speaking of runs through the
centre of the district, and is shorter and more frequented now than any
other, yet other roads also were made at much earlier periods, on
different occasions.

9. The first of them, near the maritime alps, was made by the Theban
Hercules, when he was proceeding in a leisurely manner to destroy Geryon
and Tauriscus, as has already been mentioned; and he it was who gave to
these alps the name of the Grecian Alps.[52] In the same way he
consecrated the citadel and port of Monæcus to keep alive the
recollection of his name for ever. And this was the reason why, many
ages afterwards, those alps were called the Penine Alps.[53]

10. Publius Cornelius Scipio, the father of the elder Africanus, when
about to go to the assistance of the citizens of Saguntum--celebrated
for the distresses which they endured, and for their loyalty to Rome, at
the time when they were besieged with great resolution by the
Carthaginians--led to the Spanish coast a fleet having on board a
numerous army. But after the city had been destroyed by the valour of
the Carthaginians, he, being unable to overtake Hannibal, who had
crossed the Rhone, and had obtained three days' start of him in the
march towards Italy, crossed the sea, which at that point was not wide,
making a rapid voyage; and taking his station near Genoa, a town of the
Ligures, awaited his descent from the mountains, so that, if chance
should afford him an opportunity, he might attack him in the plain while
still fatigued with the ruggedness of the way by which he had come.

11. But still, having regard to the interests of the republic, he
ordered Cnæus Scipio, his brother, to go into Spain, to prevent
Hasdrubal from making a similar expedition from that country. But
Hannibal, having received information of their design by some deserters,
being also a man of great shrewdness and readiness of resources,
obtained some guides from the Taurini who inhabited those districts, and
passing through the Tricastini and through the district of the Vocontii,
he thus reached the defiles of the Tricorii.[54] Then starting from this
point, he made another march over a line previously impassable. And
having cut through a rock of immense height, which he melted by means of
mighty fires, and pouring over it a quantity of vinegar, he proceeded
along the Druentia, a river full of danger from its eddies and currents,
until he reached the district of Etruria. This is enough to say of the
Alps; now let us return to our original subject.


§ 1. In former times, when these provinces were little known, as being
barbarous, they were considered to be divided into three races:[55]
namely, the Celtæ, the same who are also called Galli; the Aquitani,
and the Belgæ: all differing from each other in language, manners, and

2. The Galli, who, as I have said, are the same as the Celtæ, are
divided from the Aquitani by the river Garonne, which rises in the
mountains of the Pyrenees; and after passing through many towns, loses
itself in the ocean.

3. On the other side they are separated from the Belgians by the Marne
and the Seine, both rivers of considerable size, which flowing through
the tribe of the Lugdunenses, after surrounding the stronghold of the
Parisii named Lutetia, so as to make an island of it, proceed onwards
together, and fall into the sea near the camp of Constantius.

4. Of all these people the Belgians are said by ancient writers to be
the most warlike, because, being more remote from civilization, and not
having been rendered effeminate by foreign luxuries, they have been
engaged in continual wars with the Germans on the other side of the

5. For the Aquitanians, to whose shores, as being nearest and also
pacific, foreign merchandise is abundantly imported, were easily brought
under the dominion of the Romans, because their character had become

6. But from the time when the Gauls, after long and repeated wars,
submitted to the dictator Julius, all their provinces were governed by
Roman officers, the country being divided into four portions; one of
which was the province of Narbonne; containing the districts of Vienne
and Lyons: a second province comprehended all the tribes of the
Aquitanians; upper and lower Germany formed a third jurisdiction, and
the Belgians a fourth at that period.

7. But now the whole extent of the country is portioned out into many
provinces. The second (or lower) Germany is the first, if you begin on
the western side, fortified by Cologne and Tongres, both cities of great
wealth and importance.

8. Next comes the first (or high) Germany, in which, besides other
municipal towns, there is Mayence, and Worms, and Spiers, and Strasburg,
a city celebrated for the defeats sustained by the barbarians in its

9. After these the first Belgic province stretches as far as Metz and
Treves, which city is the splendid abode of the chief governor of the

10. Next to that comes the second Belgic province, where we find Amiens,
a city of conspicuous magnificence, and Châlons,[56] and Rheims.

11. In the province of the Sequani, the finest cities are Besançon and
Basle. The first Lyonnese province contains Lyons, Châlons,[57] Sens,
Bourges, and Autun, the walls of which are very extensive and of great

12. In the second Lyonnese province are Tours, and Rouen, Evreux, and
Troyes. The Grecian and Penine Alps have, besides other towns of less
note, Avenche, a city which indeed is now deserted, but which was
formerly one of no small importance, as even now is proved by its
half-ruinous edifices. These are the most important provinces, and most
splendid cities of the Galli.

13. In Aquitania, which looks towards the Pyrenees, and that part of the
ocean which belongs to the Spaniards, the first province is Aquitanica,
very rich in large and populous cities; passing over others, I may
mention as pre-eminent, Bordeaux, Clermont, Saintes, and Poictiers.

14. The province called the Nine Nations is enriched by Ausch and Bazas.
In the province of Narbonne, the cities of Narbonne, Euses, and Toulouse
are the principal places of importance. The Viennese exults in the
magnificence of many cities, the chief of which are Vienne itself, and
Arles, and Valence; to which may be added Marseilles, by the alliance
with and power of which we read that Rome itself was more than once
supported in moments of danger.

15. And near to these cities is also Aix, Nice, Antibes, and the islands
of Hieres.

16. And since we have come in the progress of our work to this district,
it would be inconsistent and absurd to omit all mention of the Rhone, a
river of the greatest celebrity. The Rhone rises in the Penine Alps,
from sources of great abundance, and descending with headlong
impetuosity into the more champaign districts, it often overruns its
banks with its own waters, and then plunges into a lake called Lake
Leman, and though it passes through it, yet it never mingles with any
foreign waters, but, rushing over the top of those which flow with less
rapidity, in its search for an exit, it forces its own way by the
violence of its stream.

17. And thus passing through that lake without any damage, it runs
through Savoy and the district of Franche Comté; and, after a long
course, it forms the boundary between the Viennese on its left, and the
Lyonnese on its right. Then after many windings it receives the Saône, a
river which rises in the first Germany, and this latter river here
merges its name in the Rhone. At this point is the beginning of the
Gauls. And from this spot the distances are measured not by miles but by

18. From this point also, the Rhone, being now enriched by other rivers,
becomes navigable for large vessels, which are often tossed about in it
by gales of wind; and at last, having finished the course which nature
has marked out for it, foaming on it joins the Gallic Sea in the wide
gulf which they call the Gulf of Lyons, about eighteen miles from Arles.
This is enough to say of the situation of the province; I will now
proceed to describe the appearance and character of the inhabitants.


§ 1. Nearly all the Gauls are of a lofty stature, fair, and of ruddy
complexion; terrible from the sternness of their eyes, very quarrelsome,
and of great pride and insolence. A whole troop of foreigners would not
be able to withstand a single Gaul if he called his wife to his
assistance, who is usually very strong, and with blue eyes; especially
when, swelling her neck, gnashing her teeth, and brandishing her sallow
arms of enormous size, she begins to strike blows mingled with kicks, as
if they were so many missiles sent from the string of a catapult.

2. The voices of the generality are formidable and threatening, whether
they are in good humour or angry: they are all exceedingly careful of
cleanliness and neatness, nor in all the country, and most especially in
Aquitania, could any man or woman, however poor, be seen either dirty or

3. The men of every age are equally inclined to war, and the old man and
the man in the prime of life answer with equal zeal the call to arms,
their bodies being hardened by their cold weather and by constant
exercise so that they are all inclined to despise dangers and terrors.
Nor has any one of this nation ever mutilated his thumb from fear of the
toils of war, as men have done in Italy, whom in their district are
called Murci.

4. The nation is fond of wine, and of several kinds of liquor which
resemble wine. And many individuals of the lower orders, whose senses
have become impaired by continual intoxication, which the apophthegm of
Cato defined to be a kind of voluntary madness, run about in all
directions at random; so that there appears to be some point in that
saying which is found in Cicero's oration in defence of Fonteius, "that
henceforth the Gauls will drink their wine less strong than formerly,"
because forsooth they thought there was poison in it.

5. These countries, and especially such parts of them as border on
Italy, fell gradually under the dominion of the Romans without much
trouble to their conquerors, having been first attacked by Fulvius,
afterwards weakened in many trifling combats by Sextius, and at last
entirely subdued by Fabius Maximus; who gained an additional surname
from the complete accomplishment of this task, after he had brought into
subjection the fierce tribe of the Allobroges.

6. Cæsar finally subdued all the Gauls, except where their country was
absolutely inaccessible from its morasses, as we learn from Sallust,
after a war of ten years, in which both nations suffered many disasters;
and at last he united them to us in eternal alliance by formal treaties.
I have digressed further than I had intended, but now I will return to
my original subject.


§ 1. After Domitianus had perished by a cruel death, Musonianus his
successor governed the East with the rank of prætorian prefect; a man
celebrated for his eloquence and thorough knowledge of both the Greek
and Latin languages; from which he reaped a loftier glory than he

2. For when Constantine was desirous of obtaining a more accurate
knowledge of the different sects in the empire, the Manicheans and other
similar bodies, and no one could be found able sufficiently to explain
them, Musonianus was chosen for the task, having been recommended as
competent; and when he had discharged this duty with skill, the emperor
gave him the name of Musonianus, for he had been previously called
Strategius. After that he ran through many degrees of rank and honour,
and soon reached the dignity of prefect; being in other matters also a
man of wisdom, popular in the provinces, and of a mild and courteous
disposition. But at the same time, whenever he could find an
opportunity, especially in any controversies or lawsuits (which is most
shameful and wicked), he was greatly devoted to sordid gain. Not to
mention many other instances, this was especially exemplified in the
investigations which were made into the death of Theophilus, the
governor of Syria, a man of consular rank, who gave information against
the Cæsar Gallus, and who was torn to pieces in a tumult of the people;
for which several poor men were condemned, who, it was clearly proved,
were at a distance at the time of the transaction, while certain rich
men who were the real authors of the crime were spared from all
punishment, except the confiscation of their property.

3. In this he was equalled by Prosper, at that time master of the horse
in Gaul; a man of abject spirit and great inactivity; and, as the comic
poet has it, despising the acts of secret robbing he plundered

4. And, while these two officers were conniving together, and
reciprocally helping each other to many means of acquiring riches, the
chiefs of the Persian nation who lived nearest to the river, profiting
by the fact that the king was occupied in the most distant parts of his
dominions, and that these commanders were occupied in plundering the
people placed under their authority, began to harass our territories
with predatory bands, making audacious inroads, sometimes into Armenia,
often also into Mesopotamia.

[32] Tlepolemus and Hiero, whom Cicero, Verres iii. 11, calls Cibyratici

[33] Herodotus, iv. 184, records that in Africa, in the country about
Mount Atlas, dreams are unknown.

[34] Lintz.

[35] The district around Bellinzona.

[36] The Bodensee, more generally known as the Lake of Constance: at its
south-eastern end is the town of Bregenz, the ancient Brigantia.

[37] The Arethusa is in Sicily, near Syracuse.

[38] The Comites were a picked body of troops, divided into several
regiments distinguished by separate names, such as Seniores, Juniores,
Sagittarii, &c.

[39] The Promoti were also picked men, something like the Comites; the
French translator calls them the Veterans.

[40] From κόπτω to cut, and ματτύα any delicate food;
meant as equivalent to our cheeseparer, or skinflint.

[41] This was a very important post; it seems to have united the
functions of a modern chamberlain, chancellor, and secretary of state.
The master presented citizens to the emperor, received foreign
ambassadors, recommended men for civil employments, decided civil
actions of several kinds, and superintended many of the affairs of the

[42] Cologne.

[43] The dragons were the effigies on some of the standards.

[44] There is no such passage in any extant work of Cicero, but a
sentence in his speech ad Pontifices resembles it: "For although it be
more desirable to end one's life without pain, and without injury, still
it tends more to an immortality of glory to be regretted by one's
countrymen, than to have been always free from injury." And a still
closer likeness to the sentiment is found in his speech ad Quirites post
reditum: "Although there is nothing more to be wished for by man than
prosperous, equal, continual good-fortune in life, flowing on in a
prosperous course, without any misadventure; still, if all my life had
been tranquil and peaceful, I should have been deprived of the
incredible and almost heavenly delight and happiness which I now enjoy
through your kindness."--Orations, v. 2; Bohn, p. 491-2.

[45] In one of the lost books of this history.

[46] The Nymphæum was a temple sacred to the Nymphs, deriving its name
of Septemzodium, or Septizonium (which it shared with more than one
other building at Rome), from the seven rows of pillars, one above the
other, and each row lessening both in circuit and in height, with which
the exterior was embellished. Another temple of this kind was built by
Septimius Severus.

[47] Cologne.

[48] This story of the Phocæenses is told by Herodotus, i. 166, and
alluded to by Horace, Epod. xv. 10.

[49] The Eubages, or Οὐατεῖς, as Strabo calls them, appear to
have been a tribe of priests.

[50] The Cottian Alps are Mont Genevre. It is unnecessary to point out
how Ammianus mistakes the true bearing of these frontiers of Gaul.

[51] Briançon.

[52] The Graiæ Alps are the Little St. Bernard; and it was over them
that Hannibal really passed, as has been conclusively proved by Dr. J.A.

[53] From the god Pen, or Peninus, Liv. xxi. 38. The Alpes Peninæ are
the Great St. Bernard.

[54] Compare Livy's account of Hannibal's march, from which, wholly
erroneous as it is, this description seems to have been taken; not that
even Livy has made such a gross mistake about the Druentia, or Durance,
which falls into the Rhone.

[55] Cæsar's account of his expedition begins with the statement that
"Gaul is divided into three provinces."

[56] Châlons sur Marne.

[57] Châlons sur Saône.

[58] Ammianus refers to Plautus, Epidicus, Act. I., sc. i., line 10:--

     _Thesprio._ I am less of a pilferer now than formerly.

     _Ep._ How so?

     _Thes._ I rob openly.



     I. A panegyric of Julian the Cæsar.--II. Julian attacks and defeats
     the Allemanni.--III. He recovers Cologne, which had been taken by
     the Franks, and concludes a peace with the king of the Franks.--IV.
     He is besieged in the city of Sens by the Allemanni.--V. His
     virtues--VI. The prosecution and acquittal of Arbetio.--VII. The
     Cæsar Julian is defended before the emperor by his chamberlain
     Eutherius against the accusations of Marcellus.--VIII. Calumnies
     are rife in the camp of the Emperor Constantius, and the courtiers
     are rapacious.--IX. The question of peace with the
     Persians.--X.--The triumphal entry of Constantius into Rome.--XI.
     Julian attacks the Allemanni in the islands of the Rhine in which
     they had taken refuge, and repairs the fort of Saverne.--XII. He
     attacks the kings of the Allemanni on the borders of Gaul, and
     defeats them at Strasburg.


A.D. 356.

§ 1. While the chain of destiny was bringing these events to pass in the
Roman world, Julian, being at Vienne, was taken by the emperor, then in
his own eighth consulship, as a partner in that dignity; and, under the
promptings of his own innate energy, dreamt of nothing but the crash of
battles and the slaughter of the barbarians; preparing without delay to
re-establish the province, and to reunite the fragments that had been
broken from it, if only fortune should be favourable to him.

2. And because the great achievements which by his valour and good
fortune Julian performed in the Gauls, surpass many of the most gallant
exploits of the ancients, I will relate them in order as they occurred,
employing all the resources of my talents, moderate as they are, in the
hope that they may suffice for the narrative.

3. But what I am about to relate, though not emblazoned by craftily
devised falsehood, and being simply a plain statement of facts,
supported by evident proofs, will have all the effect of a studied

4. For it would seem that some principle of a more than commonly
virtuous life guided this young prince from his very cradle to his last
breath. Increasing rapidly in every desirable quality, he soon became so
conspicuous both at home and abroad, that in respect to his prudence he
was looked upon as a second Titus: in his glorious deeds of war he was
accounted equal to Trajan; in mercy he was the prototype of Antoninus;
and in the pursuit and discovery of true and perfect wisdom, he
resembled Marcus Aurelius, in imitation of whom he formed all his
actions and character.

5. And since, as we are taught by Cicero, that the loftiness of great
virtues delights us, as does that of high trees, while we are not
equally interested in the roots and trunks; so, also, the first
beginnings of his admirable disposition were kept concealed by many
circumstances which threw a cloud over them; though in fact they ought
to be preferred to many of his most marvellous actions of later life, in
that he, who in his early youth had been brought up like Erectheus in
the retirement sacred to Minerva, nevertheless when he was drawn forth
from the quiet shades of the academy (and not from any military tent)
into the labours of war, subdued Germany, tranquillized the districts of
the frozen Rhine, routed the barbarian kings breathing nothing but
bloodshed and slaughter, and forced them to submission.


§ 1. Therefore while passing a toilsome winter in the city aforesaid, he
learnt, among the numerous reports which were flying about, that the
ancient city of Autun, the walls of which, though of vast extent, were
in a state of great decay from age, was now besieged by the barbarians,
who had suddenly appeared before it in great force; and while the
garrison remained panic-stricken and inactive, the town was defended by
a body of veterans who were behaving with great courage and vigilance;
as it often happens that extreme despair repulses dangers which appear
destructive of all hope or safety.

2. Therefore, without relaxing his anxiety about other matters, and
putting aside all the adulation of the courtiers with which they sought
to divert his mind towards voluptuousness and luxury, he hastened his
preparations, and when everything was ready he set out, and on the 24th
of June arrived at Autun; behaving like a veteran general conspicuous
alike for skill and prowess, and prepared to fall upon the barbarians,
who were straggling in every direction over the country, the moment
fortune afforded him an opportunity.

3. Therefore having deliberated on his plans, and consulted those who
were acquainted with the country as to what would be the safest line of
march for him to adopt, after having received much information in favour
of different routes, some recommending Arbois, others insisting on it
that the best way was by Saulieu and Cure.

4. But as some persons affirmed that Silvanus, in command of a body of
infantry, had, a short time before, made his way with 8,000 men by a
road shorter than either, but dangerous as lying through many dark woods
and defiles suitable for ambuscades, Julian became exceedingly eager to
imitate the audacity of this brave man.

5. And to prevent any delay, taking with him only his cuirassiers and
archers, who would not have been sufficient to defend his person had he
been attacked, he took the same route as Silvanus; and so came to

6. And there, having, according to his custom, devoted a short time to
rest, for the purpose of refreshing his men, he proceeded onwards
towards Troyes; and strengthened his flanks that he might with the
greater effect watch the barbarians, who attacked him in numerous
bodies, which he avoided as well as he could, thinking them more
numerous than they really were. Presently, however, having occupied some
favourable ground, he descended upon one body of them, and routed it,
and took some prisoners whom their own fears delivered to him; and then
he allowed the rest, who now devoted all their energies to flying with
what speed they could, to escape unattacked, as his men could not pursue
them by reason of the weight of their armour.

7. This occurrence gave him more hope of being able to resist any attack
which they might make, and marching forwards with this confidence, after
many dangers he reached Troyes so unexpectedly, that when he arrived at
the gates, the inhabitants for some time hesitated to give him entrance
into the city, so great was their fear of the straggling multitudes of
the barbarians.

8. After a little delay, devoted to again refreshing his weary troops,
thinking that there was no time to waste, he proceeded to the city of
Rheims, where he had ordered his whole army, carrying[59] ... to
assemble, and there to await his presence. The army at Rheims was under
the command of Marcellus, the successor of Ursicinus; and Ursicinus
himself was ordered to remain there till the termination of the

9. Again Julian took counsel, and after many opinions of different
purport had been delivered, it was determined to attack the host of the
Allemanni in the neighbourhood of Dieuse; and to that quarter the army
now marched in dense order, and with more than usual alacrity.

10. And because the weather, being damp and misty, prevented even what
was near from being seen, the enemy, availing themselves of their
knowledge of the country, came by an oblique road upon the Cæsar's rear,
and attacked two legions while they were piling their arms; and they
would almost have destroyed them if the uproar which suddenly arose had
not brought the auxiliary troops of the allies to their support.

11. From this time forth Julian, thinking it impossible to find any
roads or any rivers free from ambuscades, proceeded with consummate
prudence and caution; qualities which above all others in great generals
usually bring safety and success to armies.

12. Hearing therefore that Strasburg, Brumat, Saverne, Spiers, Worms,
and Mayence, were all in the hands of the barbarians, who were
established in their suburbs, for the barbarians shunned fixing
themselves in the towns themselves, looking upon them like graves
surrounded with nets, he first of all entered Brumat, and just as he
reached that place he was encountered by a body of Germans prepared for

13. Having arranged his own army in the form of a crescent, the
engagement began, and the enemy were speedily surrounded and utterly
defeated. Some were taken prisoners, others were slain in the heat of
the battle, the rest sought safety by rapid flight.


§ 1. After this, meeting with no resistance, he determined to proceed to
recover Cologne, which had been destroyed before his arrival in Gaul.
In that district there is no city or fortress to be seen except that
near Confluentes;[60] a place so named because there the river Moselle
becomes mingled with the Rhine; there is also the village of Rheinmagen,
and likewise a single tower near Cologne.

2. After having taken possession of Cologne he did not leave it till the
Frank kings began, through fear of him, to abate of their fury, when he
contracted a peace with them likely to be of future advantage to the
republic. In the mean time he put the whole city into a state of
complete defence.

3. Then, auguring well from these first-fruits of victory, he departed,
passing through the district of Treves, with the intention of wintering
at Sens, which was a town very suitable for that purpose. When bearing,
so to say, the weight of a world of wars upon his shoulders, he was
occupied by perplexities of various kinds, and among them how to provide
for establishing in places most exposed to danger the soldiers who had
quitted their former posts; how to defeat the enemies who had conspired
together to injure the Roman cause; and further, how to provide supplies
for the army while employed in so many different quarters.


§ 1. While he was anxiously revolving these things in his mind, he was
attacked by a numerous force of the enemy, who had conceived a hope of
being able to take the town. And they were the more confident of success
because, from the information of deserters, they had learnt that he
neither had with him his Scutarii nor his Gentiles, both of which bodies
of troops had been distributed among the different municipal towns in
order that they might be the more easily supplied with provisions.

2. Therefore after the gates of the city had been barricaded, and the
weakest portions of the walls carefully strengthened, Julian was seen
night and day on the battlements and ramparts, attended by a band of
armed men, boiling over with anger and gnashing his teeth, because,
often as he wished to sally forth, he was prevented from taking such a
step by the scantiness of the force which he had with him.

3. At last, after thirty days, the barbarians retired disappointed,
murmuring that they had been so vain and weak as to attempt the siege of
such a city. It deserves however to be remarked, as a most unworthy
circumstance, that when Julian was in great personal danger, Marcellus,
the master of the horse, who was posted in the immediate neighbourhood,
omitted to bring him any assistance, though the danger of the city
itself, even if the prince had not been there, ought to have excited his
endeavours to relieve it from the peril of a siege by so formidable an

4. Being now delivered from this fear, Julian, ever prudent and active,
directed his anxious thoughts incessantly to the care of providing that,
after their long labours, his soldiers should have rest, which, however
brief, might be sufficient to recruit their strength. In addition to the
exhaustion consequent on their toils, they were distressed by the
deficiency of crops on the land, which through the frequent devastations
to which they had been exposed afforded but little suitable for human

5. But these difficulties he likewise surmounted by his ever wakeful
diligence, and a more confident hope of future success opening itself to
his mind, he rose with higher spirits to accomplish his other designs.


§ 1. In the first place (and this is a most difficult task for every
one), he imposed on himself a rigid temperance, and maintained it as if
he had been living under the obligation of the sumptuary laws. These
were originally brought to Rome from the edicts of Lycurgus and the
tables of laws compiled by Solon, and were for a long time strictly
observed. When they had become somewhat obsolete, they were
re-established by Sylla, who, guided by the apophthegms of Democritus,
agreed with him that it is Fortune which spreads an ambitious table, but
that Virtue is content with a sparing one.

2. And likewise Cato of Tusculum, who from his pure and temperate way of
life obtained the surname of the Censor, said with profound wisdom on
the same subject, "When there is great care about food, there is very
little care about virtue."

3. Lastly, though he was continually reading the little treatise which
Constantius, when sending him as his step-son to prosecute his studies,
had written for him with his own hand, in which he made extravagant
provision for the dinner-expenses of the Cæsar, Julian now forbade
pheasants, or sausages, or even sow's udder to be served up to him,
contenting himself with the cheap and ordinary food of the common

4. Hereupon arose his custom of dividing his nights into three portions,
one of which he allotted to rest, one to the affairs of the state, and
one to the study of literature; and we read that Alexander the Great had
been accustomed to do the same, though he practised the rule with less
self-reliance. For Alexander, having placed a brazen shell on the ground
beneath him, used to hold a silver ball in his hand, which he kept
stretched outside his bed, so that when sleep pervading his whole body
had relaxed the rigour of his muscles, the rattling of the ball falling
might banish slumber from his eyes.

5. But Julian, without any instrument, awoke whenever he pleased; and
always rising when the night was but half spent, and that not from a bed
of feathers, or silken coverlets shining with varied brilliancy, but
from a rough blanket or rug, would secretly offer his supplications to
Mercury, who, as the theological lessons which he had received had
taught him, was the swift intelligence of the world, exciting the
different emotions of the mind. And thus removed from all external
circumstances calculated to distract his attention, he gave his whole
attention to the affairs of the republic.

6. Then, after having ended this arduous and important business, he
turned and applied himself to the cultivation of his intellect. And it
was marvellous with what excessive ardour he investigated and attained
to the sublime knowledge of the loftiest matters, and how, seeking as it
were some food for his mind which might give it strength to climb up to
the sublimest truths, he ran through every branch of philosophy in
profound and subtle discussions.

7. Nevertheless, while engaged in amassing knowledge of this kind in
all its fullness and power, he did not despise the humbler
accomplishments. He was tolerably fond of poetry and rhetoric, as is
shown by the invariable and pure elegance, mingled with dignity, of all
his speeches and letters. And he likewise studied the varied history of
our own state and of foreign countries. To all these accomplishments was
added a very tolerable degree of eloquence in the Latin language.

8. Therefore, if it be true, as many writers affirm, that Cyrus the
king, and Simonides the lyric poet, and Hippias of Elis, the most acute
of the Sophists, excelled as they did in memory because they had
obtained that faculty through drinking a particular medicine, we must
also believe that Julian in his early manhood had drunk the whole cask
of memory, if such a thing could ever be found. And these are the
nocturnal signs of his chastity and virtue.

9. But as for the manner in which he passed his days, whether in
conversing with eloquence and wit, or in making preparations for war, or
in actual conflict of battle, or in his administration of affairs of the
state, correcting all defects with magnanimity and liberality, these
things shall all be set forth in their proper place.

10. When he was compelled, as being a prince, to apply himself to the
study of military discipline, having been previously confined to lessons
of philosophy, and when he was learning the art of marching in time
while the pipes were playing the Pyrrhic air, he often, calling upon the
name of Plato, ironically quoted that old proverb, "A pack-saddle is
placed on an ox; this is clearly a burden which does not belong to me."

11. On one occasion, when some secretaries were introduced into the
council-chamber, with solemn ceremony, to receive some gold, one of
their company did not, as is the usual custom, open his robe to receive
it, but took it in the hollow of both his hands joined together; on
which Julian said, secretaries only know how to seize things, not how to
accept them.

12. Having been approached by the parents of a virgin who had been
ravished, seeking for justice, he gave sentence that the ravisher, on
conviction, should be banished; and when the parents complained of this
sentence as unequal to the crime, because the criminal had not been
condemned to death, he replied, "Let the laws blame my clemency: but it
is fitting that an emperor of a most merciful disposition should be
superior to all other laws."

13. Once when he was about to set forth on an expedition, he was
interrupted by several people complaining of injuries which they had
received, whom he referred for a hearing to the governors of their
respective provinces. And after he had returned, he inquired what had
been done in each case, and with genuine clemency mitigated the
punishments which had been assigned to the offences.

14. Last of all, without here making any mention of the victories in
which he repeatedly defeated the barbarians, and the vigilance with
which he protected his army from all harm, the benefits which he
conferred on the Galli, previously exhausted by extreme want, are most
especially evident from this fact, that when he first entered the
country he found that four-and-twenty pieces of gold were exacted, under
the name of tribute, in the way of poll-tax, from each individual. But
when he quitted the country seven pieces only were required, which made
up all the payments due from them to the state. On which account they
rejoiced with festivals and dances, looking upon him as a serene sun
which had shone upon them after melancholy darkness.

15. Moreover we know that up to the very end of his reign and of his
life, he carefully and with great benefit observed this rule, not to
remit the arrears of tribute by edicts which they call indulgences. For
he knew that by such conduct he should be giving something to the rich,
whilst it is notorious everywhere that, the moment that taxes are
imposed, the poor are compelled to pay them all at once without any

16. But while he was thus regulating and governing the country in a
manner deserving the imitation of all virtuous princes, the rage of the
barbarians again broke out more violently than ever.

17. And as wild beasts, which, owing to the carelessness of the
shepherds, have been wont to plunder their flocks, even when these
careless keepers are exchanged for more watchful ones, still cling to
their habit, and being furious with hunger, will, without any regard for
their own safety, again attack the flocks and herds; so also the
barbarians, having consumed all their plunder, continued, under the
pressure of hunger, repeatedly to make inroads for the sake of booty,
though sometimes they died of want before they could obtain any.


§ 1. These were the events which took place in Gaul during this year; at
first of doubtful issue, but in the end successful. Meanwhile in the
emperor's court envy constantly assailed Arbetio, accusing him of having
already assumed the ensigns of imperial rank, as if designing soon to
attain the supreme dignity itself. And especially was he attacked by a
count named Verissimus, who with great vehemence brought forth terrible
charges against him, openly alleging that although he had been raised
from the rank of a common soldier to high military office, he was not
contented, thinking little of what he had obtained, and aiming at the
highest place.

2. And he was also vigorously attacked by a man named Dorus, who had
formerly been surgeon of the Scutarii, and of whom we have spoken, when
promoted in the time of Magnentius to be inspector of the works of art
at Rome, as having brought accusations against Adelphius, the prefect of
the city, as forming ambitious designs.

3. And when the matter was brought forward for judicial inquiry, and all
preliminary arrangements were made, proof of the accusations which had
been confidently looked for was still delayed; when suddenly, as if the
business had been meant as a satire on the administration of justice,
through the interposition of the chamberlain as rumour affirmed, the
persons who had been imprisoned as accomplices were released from their
confinement: Dorus disappeared, and Verissimus kept silence for the
future, as if the curtain had dropped and the scene had been suddenly


§ 1. About the same time, Constantius having learnt, from common report,
that Marcellus had omitted to carry assistance to the Cæsar when he was
besieged at Sens, cashiered him, and ordered him to retire to his own
house. And he, as if he had received a great injury, began to plot
against Julian, relying upon the disposition of the emperor to open his
ears to every accusation.

2. Therefore, when he departed, Eutherius, the chief chamberlain, was
immediately sent after him, that he might convict him before the emperor
if he propagated any falsehoods. But Marcellus, unaware of this, as soon
as he arrived at Milan, began talking loudly, and seeking to create
alarm, like a vain chatterer half mad as he was. And when he was
admitted into the council-chamber, he began to accuse Julian of being
insolent, and of preparing for himself stronger wings in order to soar
to a greater height. For this was his expression, agitating his body
violently as he uttered it.

3. While he was thus uttering his imaginary charges with great freedom,
Eutherius being, at his own request, introduced into the presence, and
being commanded to say what he wished, speaking with great respect and
moderation showed the emperor that the truth was being overlaid with
falsehood. For that, while the commander of the heavy-armed troops had,
as it was believed, held back on purpose, the Cæsar having been long
besieged at Sens, had by his vigilance and energy repelled the
barbarians. And he pledged his own life that the Cæsar would, as long as
he lived, be faithful to the author of his greatness.

4. The opportunity reminds me here to mention a few facts concerning
this same Eutherius, which perhaps will hardly be believed; because if
Numa Pompilius or Socrates were to say anything good of a eunuch, and
were to confirm what they said by an oath, they would be accused of
having departed from the truth. But roses grow up among thorns, and
among wild beasts some are of gentle disposition. And therefore I will
briefly mention a few of his most important acts which are well

5. He was born in Armenia, of a respectable family, and having while a
very little child been taken prisoner by the enemies on the border, he
was castrated and sold to some Roman merchants, and by them conducted to
the palace of Constantine, where, while growing up to manhood, he began
to display good principles and good talents, becoming accomplished in
literature to a degree quite sufficient for his fortune, displaying
extraordinary acuteness in discovering matters of a doubtful and
difficult complexion; being remarkable also for a marvellous memory,
always eager to do good, and full of wise and honest counsel. A man, in
short, who, if the Emperor Constantius had listened to his advice,
which, whether he gave it in youth or manhood, was always honourable and
upright, would have been prevented from committing any errors, or at
least any that were not pardonable.

6. When he became high chamberlain he sometimes also found fault even
with Julian, who, as being tainted with Asiatic manners, was apt to be
capricious. Finally, when he quitted office for private life, and again
when he was recalled to court, he was always sober and consistent,
cultivating those excellent virtues of good faith and constancy to such
a degree that he never betrayed any secret, except for the purpose of
securing another's safety; nor was he ever accused of covetous or
grasping conduct, as the other courtiers were.

7. From which it arose that, when at a late period he retired to Rome,
and fixed there the abode of his old age, bearing with him the company
of a good conscience, he was loved and respected by men of all ranks,
though men of that class generally, after having amassed riches by
iniquity, love to seek secret places of retirement, just as owls or
moths, and avoid the sight of the multitude whom they have injured.

8. Though I have often ransacked the accounts of antiquity, I do not
find any ancient eunuch to whom I can compare him. There were indeed
among the ancients some, though very few, faithful and economical, but
still they were stained by some vice or other; and among the chief
faults which they had either by nature or habit, they were apt to be
either rapacious or else boorish, and on that account contemptible; or
else ill-natured and mischievous; or fawning too much on the powerful;
or too elated with power, and therefore arrogant. But of any one so
universally accomplished and prudent, I confess I have neither ever read
nor heard, relying for the truth of this judgment on the general
testimony of the age.

9. But if any careful reader of ancient histories should oppose to us
Menophilus, the eunuch of King Mithridates, I would warn him to
recollect that nothing is really known of him except this single fact,
that he behaved gloriously in a moment of extreme danger.

10. When the king above mentioned, having been defeated by the Romans
under the command of Pompey, and fleeing to his kingdom of Colchis, left
a grown-up daughter, named Drypetina, who at the time was dangerously
ill, in the castle of Synhorium, under the care of this Menophilus, he
completely cured the maiden by a variety of remedies, and preserved her
in safety for her father; and when the fortress in which they were
enclosed began to be besieged by Manlius Priscus, the lieutenant of the
general, and when he became aware that the garrison were proposing to
surrender, he, fearing that, to the dishonour of her father, this noble
damsel might be made a prisoner and be ravished, slew her, and then fell
upon his sword himself. Now I will return to the point from which I


§ 1. After Marcellus had been foiled, as I have mentioned, and had
returned to Serdica, which was his native place, many great crimes were
perpetrated in the camp of Augustus, under pretence of upholding the
majesty of the emperor.

2. For if any one had consulted any cunning soothsayer about the squeak
of a mouse, or the appearance of a weasel, or any other similar portent,
or had used any old woman's chants to assuage any pain--a practice which
the authority of medicine does not always prohibit--such a man was at
once informed against, without being able to conceive by whom, and was
brought before a court of law, and at once condemned to death.

3. About the same time an individual named Dames was accused by his wife
of certain trifling acts, of which, whether he was innocent or not is
uncertain; but Rufinus was his enemy, who, as we have mentioned, had
given information of some matters which had been communicated to him by
Gaudentius, the emperor's secretary, causing Africanus, then governing
Pannonia with the rank of a consul, to be put to death, with all his
friends. This Rufinus was now, for his devotion to the interests of the
emperor, the chief commander of the prætorian guard.

4. He, being given to talking in a boastful manner, after having
seduced that easily deluded woman (the wife of Dames) into an illicit
connection with him, allured her into a perilous fraud, and persuaded
her by an accumulation of lies to accuse her innocent husband of
treason, and to invent a story that he had stolen a purple garment from
the sepulchre of Diocletian, and, by the help of some accomplices, still
kept it concealed.

5. When this story had been thus devised in a way to cause the
destruction of many persons, Rufinus himself, full of hopes of some
advantage, hastened to the camp of the emperor, to spread his customary
calumnies. And when the transaction had been divulged, Manlius, at that
time the commander of the prætorian camp, a man of admirable integrity,
received orders to make a strict inquiry into the charge, having united
to him, as a colleague in the examination, Ursulus, the chief paymaster,
a man likewise of praiseworthy equity and strictness.

6. There, after the matter had been rigorously investigated according to
the fashion of that period, and when, after many persons had been put to
the torture, nothing was found out, and the judges were in doubt and
perplexity; at length truth, long suppressed, found a respite, and,
under the compulsion of a rigorous examination, the woman confessed that
Rufinus was the author of the whole plot, nor did she even conceal the
fact of her adultery with him. Reference was immediately made to the
law, and as order and justice required, the judges condemned them both
to death.

7. But as soon as this was known, Constantius became greatly enraged,
and lamenting Rufinus as if the champion of his safety had been
destroyed, he sent couriers on horseback express, with threatening
orders to Ursulus, commanding him to return to court. Ursulus,
disregarding the remonstrances of those who advised him to disobey,
hastened fearlessly to the presence; and having entered the emperor's
council-chambers, with undaunted heart and voice related the whole
transaction; and this confident behaviour of his shut the mouths of the
flatterers, and delivered both the prefect and himself from serious

8. It was at this time also that an event took place in Aquitania which
was more extensively talked about. A certain cunning person being
invited to a splendid and sumptuous banquet, which are frequent in that
province, having seen a pair of coverlets, with two purple borders of
such width, that by the skill of those who waited they seemed to be but
one; and beholding the table also covered with a similar cloth, he took
up one in each hand, and arranged them so as to resemble the front of a
cloak, representing them as having formed the ornament of the imperial
robe; and then searching over the whole house in order to find the robe
which he affirmed must be hidden there, he thus caused the ruin of a
wealthy estate.

9. With similar malignity, a certain secretary in Spain, who was
likewise invited to a supper, hearing the servants, while bringing in
the evening candles, cry "let us conquer," affixing a malignant
interpretation to that common exclamation, in like manner ruined a noble

10. These and other evils increasing more and more, because Constantius,
being a man of a very timorous disposition, was always thinking that
blows were being aimed at him, like the celebrated tyrant of Sicily,
Dionysius, who, because of this vice of his, taught his daughters to
shave him, in order that he might not have to put his face in a
stranger's power; and surrounded the small chamber in which he was
accustomed to sleep with a deep ditch, so placed that it could only be
entered by a drawbridge; the loose beams and axles of which when he went
to bed he removed into his own chamber, replacing them when about to go
forth at daybreak.

11. Moreover, those who had influence in the court promoted the spread
of these evils, with the hope of joining to their own estates the
forfeited possessions of those who should be condemned; and thus
becoming rich by the ruin of their neighbours.

12. For, as clear evidence has shown, if Constantine was the first to
excite the appetites of his followers, Constantius was the prince who
fattened them on the marrow of the provinces.

13. For under him the principal persons of every rank burnt with an
insatiable desire of riches, without any regard for justice or right.
And among the ordinary judges, Rufinus, the chief prefect of the
prætorium, was conspicuous for this avarice. And among the military
officers Arbetio, the master of the horse, and Eusebius, the high
chamberlain, ... Ard ... anus, the quæstor, and in the city, the two
Anicii, whose posterity, treading in the steps of their fathers, could
not be satisfied even with possessions much larger than they themselves
had enjoyed.


§ 1. But in the East, the Persians now practising predatory inroads and
forays, in preference to engaging in pitched battles, as they had been
wont to do before, carried off continually great numbers of men and
cattle: sometimes making great booty, owing to the unexpectedness of
their incursions, but at other times being overpowered by superior
numbers, they suffered losses. Sometimes, also, the inhabitants of the
districts which they had invaded had removed everything which could be
carried off.

2. But Musonianus, the prefect of the prætorium, a man, as we have
already said, of many liberal accomplishments but corrupt, and a person
easily turned from the truth by a bribe, acquired, by means of some
emissaries who were skilful in deceiving and obtaining information, a
knowledge of the plans of the Persians; taking to his counsels on this
subject Cassianus, duke of Mesopotamia, a veteran who had served many
campaigns, and had become hardened by all kinds of dangers.

3. And when, by the concurrent report of spies, these officers had
become certain that Sapor was occupied in the most remote frontier of
his kingdom in repelling the hostilities of the bordering tribes, which
he could not accomplish without great difficulty and bloodshed, they
sought to tamper with Tamsapor, the general in command in the district
nearest our border. Accordingly they sent soldiers of no renown to
confer with him secretly, to engage him, if opportunity served, to write
to the king to persuade him to make peace with the Roman emperor;
whereby he, being then secure on every side, might be the better able to
subdue the rebels who were never weary of exciting disturbances.

4. Tamsapor coincided with these wishes, and, trusting to them, reported
to the king that Constantius, being involved in very formidable wars,
was a suppliant for peace. But it took a long time for these letters to
reach the country of the Chionites and the Euseni, on whose borders
Sapor had taken up his winter quarters.


§ 1. While matters were thus proceeding in the eastern regions and in
the Gauls, Constantius, as if the temple of Janus were now shut and
hostilities everywhere at an end, became desirous of visiting Rome, with
the intention of celebrating his triumph over Magnentius, to which he
could give no name, since the blood that he had spilt was that of Roman

2. For indeed, neither by his own exertions, nor by those of his
generals did he ever conquer any nation that made war upon him; nor did
he make any additions to the empire; nor at critical moments was he ever
seen to be the foremost or even among the foremost; but still he was
eager to exhibit to the people, now in the enjoyment of peace, a vast
procession, and standards heavy with gold, and a splendid train of
guards and followers, though the citizens themselves neither expected
nor desired any such spectacle.

3. He was ignorant, probably, that some of the ancient emperors were, in
time of peace, contented with their lictors, and that when the ardour of
war forbade all inactivity, one,[61] in a violent storm, had trusted
himself to a fisherman's boat; another,[62] following the example of the
Decii, had sacrificed his life for the safety of the republic;
another[63] had by himself, accompanied by only a few soldiers of the
lowest rank, gone as a spy into the camp of the enemy: in short, that
many of them had rendered themselves illustrious by splendid exploits,
in order to hand down to posterity a glorious memory of themselves,
earned by their achievements.

4. Accordingly, after long and sumptuous preparation, ... in the second
prefecture of Orfitus, Constantius, elated with his great honours, and
escorted by a formidable array of troops, marching in order of battle,
passed through Ocricoli, attracting towards himself the astonished gaze
of all the citizens.

5. And when he drew near to the city, contemplating the salutations
offered him by the senators, and the whole body of fathers venerable
from their likeness to their ancestors, he thought, not like Cineas, the
ambassador of Pyrrhus, that a multitude of kings was here assembled
together, but that the city was the asylum of the whole world.

6. And when from them he had turned his eyes upon the citizens, he
marvelled to think with what rapidity the whole race of mankind upon
earth had come from all quarters to Rome; and, as if he would have
terrified the Euphrates or the Rhine with a show of armed men, he
himself came on, preceded by standards on both sides, sitting alone in a
golden chariot, shining with all kinds of brilliant precious stones,
which seemed to spread a flickering light all around.

7. Numbers also of the chief officers who went before him were
surrounded by dragons embroidered on various kinds of tissue, fastened
to the golden or jewelled points of spears, the mouths of the dragons
being open so as to catch the wind, which made them hiss as though they
were inflamed with anger; while the coils of their tails were also
contrived to be agitated by the breeze.

8. After these marched a double row of heavy-armed soldiers, with
shields and crested helmets, glittering with brilliant light, and clad
in radiant breastplates; and among these were scattered cavalry with
cuirasses, whom the Persians call Clibanarii,[64] protected by coverings
of iron breastplates, and girdled with belts of iron, so that you would
fancy them statues polished by the hand of Praxiteles, rather than men.
And the light circular plates of iron which surrounded their bodies, and
covered all their limbs, were so well fitted to all their motions, that
in whatever direction they had occasion to move, the joints of their
iron clothing adapted themselves equally to any position.

9. The emperor as he proceeded was saluted as Augustus by voices of good
omen, the mountains and shores re-echoing the shouts of the people, amid
which he preserved the same immovable countenance which he was
accustomed to display in his provinces.

10. For though he was very short, yet he bowed down when entering high
gates, and looking straight before him, as though he had had his neck in
a vice, he turned his eyes neither to the right nor to the left, as if
he had been a statue: nor when the carriage shook him did he nod his
head, or spit, or rub his face or his nose; nor was he ever seen even to
move a hand.

11. And although this calmness was affectation, yet these and other
portions of his inner life were indicative of a most extraordinary
patience, as it may be thought, granted to him alone.

12. I pass over the circumstance that during the whole of his reign he
never either took up any one to sit with him in his chariot, or admitted
any private person to be his partner in the consulship, as other
emperors had done; also many other things which he, being filled with
elation and pride, prescribed to himself as the justest of all rules of
conduct, recollecting that I mentioned those facts before, as occasion

13. As he went on, having entered Rome, that home of sovereignty and of
all virtues, when he arrived at the rostra, he gazed with amazed awe on
the Forum, the most renowned monument of ancient power; and, being
bewildered with the number of wonders on every side to which he turned
his eyes, having addressed the nobles in the senate-house, and harangued
the populace from the tribune, he retired, with the good-will of all,
into his palace, where he enjoyed the luxury he had wished for. And
often, when celebrating the equestrian games, was he delighted with the
talkativeness of the common people, who were neither proud, nor, on the
other hand, inclined to become rebellious from too much liberty, while
he himself also reverently observed a proper moderation.

14. For he did not, as was usually done in other cities, allow the
length of the gladiatorial contests to depend on his caprice; but left
it to be decided by various occurrences. Then, traversing the summits of
the seven hills, and the different quarters of the city, whether placed
on the slopes of the hills or on the level ground, and visiting, too,
the suburban divisions, he was so delighted that whatever he saw first
he thought the most excellent of all. Admiring the temple of the
Tarpeian Jupiter, which is as much superior to other temples as divine
things are superior to those of men; and the baths of the size of
provinces; and the vast mass of the amphitheatre, so solidly erected of
Tibertine stone, to the top of which human vision can scarcely reach;
and the Pantheon with its vast extent, its imposing height, and the
solid magnificence of its arches, and the lofty niches rising one above
another like stairs, adorned with the images of former emperors; and the
temple of the city, and the forum of peace, and the theatre of Pompey,
and the odeum, and the racecourse, and the other ornaments of the
Eternal City.

15. But when he came to the forum of Trajan, the most exquisite
structure, in my opinion, under the canopy of heaven, and admired even
by the deities themselves, he stood transfixed with wonder, casting his
mind over the gigantic proportions of the place, beyond the power of
mortal to describe, and beyond the reasonable desire of mortals to
rival. Therefore giving up all hopes of attempting anything of this
kind, he contented himself with saying that he should wish to imitate,
and could imitate the horse of Trajan, which stands by itself in the
middle of the hall, bearing the emperor himself on his back.

16. And the royal prince Hormisdas, whose departure from Persia we have
already mentioned, standing by answered, with the refinement of his
nature, "But first, O emperor, command such a stable to be built for
him, if you can, that the horse which you purpose to make may have as
fair a domain as this which we see." And when he was asked what he
thought of Rome, he said that "he was particularly delighted with it
because he had learnt that men died also there."

17. Now after he had beheld all these various objects with awful
admiration, the emperor complained of fame, as either deficient in
power, or else spiteful, because, though it usually exaggerates
everything, it fell very short in its praises of the things which are
at Rome; and having deliberated for some time what he should do, he
determined to add to the ornaments of the city by erecting an obelisk in
the Circus Maximus, the origin and form of which I will describe when I
come to the proper place.

18. At this time Eusebia, the queen, who herself was barren all her
life, began to plot against Helena, the sister of Constantius, and wife
of the Cæsar Julian, whom she had induced to come to Rome under a
pretence of affection, and by wicked machinations she induced her to
drink a poison which she had procured, which should have the effect,
whenever Helena conceived, of producing abortion.

19. For already, when in Gaul, she had borne a male child, but that also
had been dishonestly destroyed because the midwife, having been bribed,
killed it as soon as it was born, by cutting through the navel-string
too deeply; such exceeding care was taken that this most gallant man
should have no offspring.

20. But the emperor, while wishing to remain longer in this most august
spot of the whole world, in order to enjoy a purer tranquillity and
higher degree of pleasure, was alarmed by repeated intelligence on which
he could rely, which informed him that the Suevi were invading the
Tyrol, that the Quadi were ravaging Valeria,[65] and that the
Sarmatians, a tribe most skilful in plunder, were laying waste the upper
Moesia, and the second Pannonia. And roused by these news, on the
thirtieth day after he had entered Rome, he again quitted it, leaving it
on the 29th of May, and passing through Trent he proceeded with all
haste towards Illyricum.

21. And from that city he sent Severus to succeed Marcellus, a man of
great experience and ripe skill in war, and summoned Ursicinus to
himself. He, having gladly received the letter of summons, came to
Sirmium, with a large retinue, and after a long deliberation on the
peace which Musonianus had reported as possible to be made with the
Persians, he was sent back to the East with the authority of
commander-in-chief, and the older officers of our company having been
promoted to commands over the soldiers, we younger men were ordered to
follow him to perform whatever he commanded us for the service of the


A.D. 357.

§ 1. But Julian, having passed his winter at Sens, amid continual
disturbance, in the ninth consulship of the emperor, and his own second,
while the threats of the Germans were raging on all sides, being roused
by favourable omens, marched with speed to Rheims, with the greater
alacrity and joy because Severus was in command of the army there; a man
inclined to agree with him, void of arrogance, but of proved propriety
of conduct and experience in war, and likely to follow his lawful
authority, obeying his general like a well-disciplined soldier.

2. In another quarter, Barbatio, who after the death of Silvanus had
been promoted to the command of the infantry, came from Italy by the
emperor's orders, to Augst, with 25,000 heavy-armed soldiers.

3. For the plan proposed and very anxiously prepared was, that the
Allemanni, who were in a state of greater rage than ever, and were
extending their incursions more widely, should be caught between our two
armies, as if between the arms of a pair of pincers, and so driven into
a corner and destroyed.

4. But while these well-devised plans were being pressed forward, the
barbarians, in joy at some success which they had obtained, and skilful
in seizing every opportunity for plunder, passed secretly between the
camps of the armies, and attacked Lyons unexpectedly. And having
plundered the district around, they would have stormed and burnt the
city itself, if they had not found the gates so strongly defended that
they were repulsed; so that they only destroyed all they could find
outside the city.

5. When this disaster was known, Cæsar, with great alacrity, despatched
three squadrons of light cavalry, of approved valour, to watch three
lines of road, knowing that beyond all question the invaders must quit
the district by one of them.

6. Nor was he mistaken; for all who came by these roads were
slaughtered by our men, and the whole of the booty which they were
carrying off was recovered unhurt. Those alone escaped in safety who
passed by the camp of Barbatio, who were suffered to escape in that
direction because Bainobaudes the tribune, and Valentinian (afterwards
emperor), who had been appointed to watch that pass with the squadrons
of cavalry under their orders, were forbidden by Cella (the tribune of
the Scutarii, who had been sent as colleague to Barbatio) to occupy that
road, though they were sure that by that the Germans would return to
their own country.

7. The cowardly master of the horse, being also an obstinate enemy to
the glory of Julian, was not contented with this, but being conscious
that he had given orders inconsistent with the interests of Rome (for
when he was accused of it Cella confessed what he had done), he made a
false report to Constantius, and told him that these same tribunes had,
under a pretence of the business of the state, came thither for the
purpose of tampering with the soldiers whom he commanded. And owing to
this statement they were deprived of their commands, and returned home
as private individuals.

8. In these days, also, the barbarians, alarmed at the approach of our
armies, which had established their stations on the left bank of the
Rhine, employed some part of their force in skilfully barricading the
roads, naturally difficult of access, and full of hills, by abattis
constructed of large trees cut down; others occupied the numerous
islands scattered up and down the Rhone, and with horrid howls poured
forth constant reproaches against the Romans and the Cæsar; who, being
now more than ever resolved to crush some of their armies, demanded from
Barbatio seven of those boats which he had collected, for the purpose of
constructing a bridge with them, with the intention of crossing the
river. But Barbatio, determined that no assistance should be got from
him, burnt them all.

9. Julian, therefore, having learnt from the report of some spies whom
he had lately taken prisoners, that, when the drought of summer arrived,
the river was fordable, addressed a speech of encouragement to his
light-armed auxiliary troops, and sent them forward with Bainobaudes,
the tribune of the Cornuti, to try and perform some gallant exploit, if
they could find an opportunity. And they, entering the shallow of the
river, and sometimes, when there was occasion for swimming, putting
their shields under them like canoes, reached a neighbouring island, and
having landed, killed every one they found on it, men and women, without
distinction of age, like so many sheep. And having found some empty
boats, though they were not very safe, they crossed in them, forcing
their way into many places of the same land. When they were weary of
slaughter, and loaded with a rich booty, some of which, however, they
lost through the violence of the river, they returned back to the camp
without losing a man.

10. And when this was known, the rest of the Germans, thinking they
could no longer trust the garrisons left in the islands, removed their
relations, and their magazines, and their barbaric treasures, into the
inland parts.

11. After this Julian turned his attention to repair the fortress known
by the name of Saverne, which had a little time before been destroyed by
a violent attack of the enemy, but which, while it stood, manifestly
prevented the Germans from forcing their way into the interior of the
Gauls, as they had been accustomed to do; and he executed this work with
greater rapidity than he expected, and he laid up for the garrison which
he intended to post there sufficient magazines for a whole year's
consumption, which his army collected from the crops of the barbarians,
not without occasional contests with the owners.

12. Nor indeed was he contented with this, but he also collected
provisions for himself and his army sufficient for twenty days. For the
soldiers delighted in using the food which they had won with their own
right hands, being especially indignant because, out of all the supplies
which had been recently sent them, they were not able to obtain
anything, inasmuch as Barbatio, when they were passing near his camp,
had with great insolence seized on a portion of them, and had collected
all the rest into a heap and burnt them. Whether he acted thus out of
his own vanity and insane folly, or whether others were really the
authors of this wickedness, relying on the command of the emperor
himself, has never been known.

13. However, as far as report went, the story commonly was, that Julian
had been elected Cæsar, not for the object of relieving the distresses
of the Gauls, but rather of being himself destroyed by the formidable
wars in which he was sure to be involved; being at that time, as was
supposed, inexperienced in war, and not likely to endure even the sound
of arms.

14. While the works of the camp were steadily rising, and while a
portion of the army was being distributed among the stations in the
country districts, Julian occupied himself in other quarters with
collecting supplies, operating with great caution, from the fear of
ambuscades. And in the mean time, a vast host of the barbarians,
outstripping all report of their approach by the celerity of their
movements, came down with a sudden attack upon Barbatio, and the army
which (as I have already mentioned) he had under his command, separated
from the Gallic army of Severus only by a rampart; and having put him to
flight, pursued him as far as Augst, and beyond that town too, as far as
they could; and, having made booty of the greater part of his baggage
and beasts of burden, and having carried off many of the sutlers as
prisoners, they returned to their main army.

15. And Barbatio, as if he had brought his expectations to a prosperous
issue, now distributed his soldiers into winter quarters, and returned
to the emperor's court, to forge new accusations against the Cæsar,
according to his custom.


§ 1. When this disgraceful disaster had become known, Chnodomarius and
Vestralpus, the kings of the Allemanni, and Urius and Ursicinus, with
Serapion, and Suomarius, and Hortarius, having collected all their
forces into one body, encamped near the city of Strasburg, thinking that
the Cæsar, from fear of imminent danger, had retreated at the very time
that he was wholly occupied with completing a fortress to enable him to
make a permanent stand.

2. Their confidence and assurance of success was increased by one of the
Scutarii who deserted to them, who fearing punishment for some offence
which he had committed, crossed over to them after the departure of
Barbatio, and assured them that Julian had now only 13,000 men remaining
with him. For that was the number of troops that he had now with him,
while the ferocious barbarians were stirring up attacks upon him from
all sides.

3. And as he constantly adhered to the same story, they were excited to
more haughty attempts by the confidence with which he inspired them, and
sent ambassadors in an imperious tone to Cæsar, demanding that he should
retire from the territory which they had acquired by their own valour in
arms. But he, a stranger to fear, and not liable to be swayed either by
anger or by disappointment, despised the arrogance of the barbarians,
and detaining the ambassadors till he had completed the works of his
camp, remained immovable on his ground with admirable constancy.

4. But King Chnodomarius, moving about in every direction, and being
always the first to undertake dangerous enterprises, kept everything in
continual agitation and confusion, being full of arrogance and pride, as
one whose head was turned by repeated success.

5. For he had defeated the Cæsar Decentius in a pitched battle, and he
had plundered and destroyed many wealthy cities, and he had long ravaged
all Gaul at his own pleasure without meeting with any resistance. And
his confidence was now increased by the recent retreat of a general
superior to him in the number and strength of his forces.

6. For the Allemanni, beholding the emblems on their shields, saw that a
few predatory bands of their men had wrested those districts from those
soldiers whom they had formerly never engaged but with fear, and by whom
they had often been routed with much loss. And these circumstances made
Julian very anxious, because, after the defection of Barbatio, he
himself under the pressure of absolute necessity was compelled to
encounter very populous tribes, with but very few, though brave troops.

7. And now, the sun being fully risen, the trumpets sounded, and the
infantry were led forth from the camp in slow march, and on their flanks
were arrayed the squadrons of cavalry, among which were both the
cuirassiers and the archers, troops whose equipment was very formidable.

8. And since from the spot from which the Roman standards had first
advanced to the rampart of the barbarian camp were fourteen leagues,
that is to say one-and-twenty miles, Cæsar, carefully providing for the
advantage and safety of his army, called in the skirmishers who had gone
out in front, and having ordered silence in his usual voice, while they
all stood in battalions around him, addressed them in his natural
tranquillity of voice.

9. "The necessity of providing for our common safety, to say the least
of it, compels me, and I am no prince of abject spirit, to exhort you,
my comrades, to rely so much on your own mature and vigorous valour, as
to follow my counsels in adopting a prudent manner of enduring or
repelling the evils which we anticipate, rather than resort to an
overhasty mode of action which must be doubtful in its issue.

10. "For though amid dangers youth ought to be energetic and bold, so
also in cases of necessity it should show itself manageable and prudent.
Now what I think best to be done, if your opinion accords with mine, and
if your just indignation will endure it, I will briefly explain.

11. "Already noon is approaching, we are weary with our march, and if we
advance we shall enter upon rugged paths where we can hardly see our
way. As the moon is waning the night will not be lighted up by any
stars. The earth is burnt up with the heat, and will afford us no
supplies of water. And even if by any contrivance we could get over
these difficulties comfortably, still, when the swarms of the enemy fall
upon us, refreshed as they will be with rest, meat, and drink, what will
become of us? What strength will there be in our weary limbs, exhausted
as we shall be with hunger, thirst, and toil, to encounter them?

12. "Therefore, since the most critical difficulties are often overcome
by skilful arrangements, and since, after good counsel has been taken in
good part, divine-looking remedies have often re-established affairs
which seemed to be tottering; I entreat you to let us here, surrounded
as we are with fosse and rampart, take our repose, after first
parcelling out our regular watches, and then, having refreshed ourselves
with sleep and food as well as the time will allow, let us, under the
protection of God, with the earliest dawn move forth our conquering
eagles and standards to reap a certain triumph."

13. The soldiers would hardly allow him to finish his speech, gnashing
their teeth, and showing their eagerness for combat by beating their
shields with their spears; and entreating at once to be led against the
enemy already in their sight, relying on the favour of the God of
heaven, and on their own valour, and on the proved courage of their
fortunate general. And, as the result proved, it was a certain kind
genius that was present with them thus prompting them to fight while
still under his inspiration.

14. And this eagerness of theirs was further stimulated by the full
approval of the officers of high rank, and especially of Florentius the
prefect of the prætorian guard, who openly gave his opinion for fighting
at once, while the enemy were in the solid mass in which they were now
arranged; admitting the danger indeed, but still thinking it the wisest
plan, because, if the enemy once dispersed, it would be impossible to
restrain the soldiers, at all times inclined by their natural vehemence
of disposition towards sedition; and they were likely to be, as he
thought, so indignant at being denied the victory they sought, as to be
easily tempted to the most lawless violence.

15. Two other considerations also added to the confidence of our men.
First, because they recollected that in the previous year, when the
Romans spread themselves in every direction over the countries on the
other side of the Rhine, not one of the barbarians stood to defend his
home, nor ventured to encounter them; but they contented themselves with
blockading the roads in every direction with vast abattis, throughout
the whole winter retiring into the remote districts, and willingly
endured the greatest hardships rather than fight; recollecting also
that, after the emperor actually invaded their territories, the
barbarians neither ventured to make any resistance, nor even to show
themselves at all, but implored peace in the most suppliant manner, till
they obtained it.

16. But no one considered that the times were changed, because the
barbarians were at that time pressed with a threefold danger. The
emperor hastening against them through the Tyrol, the Cæsar who was
actually in their country cutting off all possibility of retreat, while
the neighbouring tribes, whom recent quarrels had converted into
enemies, were all but treading on their heels; and thus they were
surrounded on all sides. But since that time the emperor, having granted
them peace, had returned to Italy, and the neighbouring tribes, having
all cause of quarrel removed, were again in alliance with them; and the
disgraceful retreat of one of the Roman generals had increased their
natural confidence and boldness.

17. Moreover there was another circumstance which at this crisis added
weight to the difficulties which pressed upon the Romans. The two royal
brothers, who had obtained peace from Constantius in the preceding year,
being bound by the obligations of that treaty, neither ventured to raise
any disturbance, nor indeed to put themselves in motion at all. But a
little after the conclusion of that peace one of them whose name was
Gundomadus, and who was the most loyal and the most faithful to his
word, was slain by treachery, and then all his tribe joined our enemies;
and on this the tribe of Vadomarius also, against his will, as he
affirmed, ranged itself on the side of the barbarians who were arming
for war.

18. Therefore, since all the soldiers of every rank, from the highest to
the lowest, approved of engaging instantly, and would not relax the
least from the rigour of their determination, on a sudden the
standard-bearer shouted out, "Go forth, O Cæsar, most fortunate of all
princes. Go whither thy better fortune leads thee. At least we have
learnt by your example the power of valour and military skill. Go on and
lead us, as a fortunate and gallant champion. You shall see what a
soldier under the eye of a warlike general, a witness of the exploits of
each individual, can do, and how little, with the favour of the Deity,
any obstacle can avail against him."

19. When these words were heard, without a moment's delay, the whole
army advanced and approached a hill of moderate height, covered with
ripe corn, at no great distance from the banks of the Rhine. On its
summit were posted three cavalry soldiers of the enemy as scouts, who
at once hastened back to their comrades to announce that the Roman army
was at hand; but one infantry soldier who was with them, not being able
to keep up with them, was taken prisoner by the activity of some of our
soldiers, and informed us that the Germans had been passing over the
river for three days and three nights.

20. And when our generals beheld them now at no great distance forming
their men into solid columns, they halted, and formed all the first
ranks of their troops into a similarly solid body, and with equal
caution the enemy likewise halted.

21. And when in consequence of this halt, the enemy saw (as the deserter
I mentioned above had informed them) that all our cavalry was ranged
against them in our right wing, then they posted all their own cavalry
in close order on their left wing. And with them they mingled every here
and there a few infantry, skirmishers and light-armed soldiers, which
indeed was a very wise manoeuvre.

22. For they knew that a cavalry soldier, however skilful, if fighting
with one of our men in complete armour, while his hands were occupied
with shield and bridle, so that he could use no offensive weapon but the
spear which he brandished in his right hand, could never injure an enemy
wholly covered with iron mail; but that an infantry soldier, amid the
actual struggles of personal conflict, when nothing is usually guarded
against by a combatant except that which is straight before him, may
crawl unperceivedly along the ground, and piercing the side of the Roman
soldier's horse, throw the rider down headlong, rendering him thus an
easy victim.

23. When these dispositions had been thus made, the barbarians also
protected their right flank with secret ambuscades and snares. Now the
whole of these warlike and savage tribes were on this day under the
command of Chnodomarius and Serapio, monarchs of more power than any of
their former kings.

24. Chnodomarius was indeed the wicked instigator of the whole war, and
bearing on his head a helmet blazing like fire, he led on the left wing
with great boldness, confiding much on his vast personal strength. And
now with great eagerness for the impending battle he mounted a spirited
horse, that by the increased height he might be more conspicuous,
leaning upon a spear of most formidable size, and remarkable for the
splendour of his arms. Being indeed a prince who had on former occasions
shown himself brave as a warrior and a general, eminent for skill above
his fellows.

25. The right wing was led by Serapio, a youth whose beard had hardly
grown, but who was beyond his years in courage and strength. He was the
son of Mederichus the brother of Chnodomarius, a man throughout his
whole life of the greatest perfidy; and he had received the name of
Serapio because his father, having been given as a hostage, had been
detained in Gaul for a long time, and had there learnt some of the
mysteries of the Greeks, in consequence of which he had changed the name
of his son, who at his birth was named Agenarichus, into that of

26. These two leaders were followed by five other kings who were but
little inferior in power to themselves, by ten petty princes, a vast
number of nobles, and thirty-five thousand armed men, collected from
various nations partly by pay, and partly by a promise of requiting
their service by similar assistance on a future day.

27. The trumpets now gave forth a terrible sound; Severus, the Roman
general in command of the left wing, when he came near the ditches
filled with armed men, from which the enemy had arranged that those who
were there concealed should suddenly rise up, and throw the Roman line
into confusion, halted boldly, and suspecting some yet hidden ambuscade,
neither attempted to retreat nor advance.

28. Seeing this, Julian, always full of courage at the moment of the
greatest difficulty, galloped with an escort of two hundred cavalry
through the ranks of the infantry at full speed, addressing them with
words of encouragement, as the critical circumstances in which they were
placed required.

29. And as the extent of the space over which they were spread and the
denseness of the multitude thus collected into one body, would not allow
him to address the whole army (and also because on other accounts he
wished to avoid exposing himself to malice and envy, as well as not to
affect that which Augustus thought belonged exclusively to himself), he,
while taking care of himself as he passed within reach of the darts of
the enemy, encouraged all whom his voice could reach, whether known or
unknown to him, to fight bravely, with these and similar words:--

30. "Now, my comrades, the fit time for fighting has arrived; the time
which I, as well as you, have long desired, and which you just now
invited when, with gestures of impatience, you demanded to be led on."
Again, when he came to those in the rear rank, who were posted in
reserve: "Behold," said he, "my comrades, the long-wished-for day is at
hand, which incites us all to wash out former stains, and to restore to
its proper brightness the Roman majesty. These men before you are
barbarians, whom their own rage and intemperate madness have urged
forward to meet with the destruction of their fortunes, defeated as they
will now be by our might."

31. Presently, when making better dispositions for the array of some
troops who, by long experience in war, had attained to greater skill, he
aided his arrangements by these exhortations. "Let us rise up like brave
men; let us by our native valour repel the disgrace which has at one
time been brought upon our arms, from contemplating which it was that
after much delay I consented to take the name of Cæsar."

32. But to any whom he saw inconsiderately demanding the signal to be
given for instant battle, and likely by their rash movements to be
inattentive to orders, he said, "I entreat you not to be too eager in
your pursuit of the flying enemy, so as to risk losing the glory of the
victory which awaits us, and also never to retreat, except under the
last necessity.

33. "For I shall certainly take no care of those who flee. But among
those who press on to the slaughter of the enemy I shall be present, and
share with you indiscriminately, provided only that your charge be made
with moderation and prudence."

34. While repeatedly addressing these and similar exhortations to the
troops, he drew up the principal part of his army opposite to the front
rank of the barbarians. And suddenly there arose from the Allemanni a
great shout, mingled with indignant cries, all exclaiming with one
voice that the princes ought to leave their horses and fight in the
ranks on equal terms with their men, lest if any mischance should occur
they should avail themselves of the facility of escaping, and leave the
mass of the army in miserable plight.

35. When this was known, Chnodomarius immediately leapt down from his
horse, and the rest of the princes followed his example without
hesitation. For indeed none of them doubted but that their side would be

36. Then the signal for battle being given as usual by the sound of
trumpets, the armies rushed to the combat with all their force. First of
all javelins were hurled, and the Germans, hastening on with the utmost
impetuosity, brandishing their javelins in their right hands, dashed
among the squadrons of our cavalry, uttering fearful cries. They had
excited themselves to more than usual rage; their flowing hair bristling
with their eagerness, and fury blazing from their eyes. While in
opposition to them our soldiers, standing steadily, protecting their
heads with the bulwark of their shields, and drawing their swords or
brandishing their javelins, equally threatened death to their

37. And while in the very conflict of battle, the cavalry kept their
gallant squadrons in close order, and the infantry strengthened their
flanks, standing shoulder to shoulder with closely-locked shields,
clouds of thick dust arose, and the battle rocked to and fro, our men
sometimes advancing, sometimes receding. Some of the most powerful
warriors among the barbarians pressed upon their antagonists with their
knees, trying to throw them down; and in the general excitement men
fought hand to hand, shield pressing upon shield; while the heaven
resounded with the loud cries of the conquerors and of the dying.
Presently, when our left wing, advancing forward, had driven back with
superior strength the vast bands of German assailants, and was itself
advancing with loud cries against the enemy, our cavalry on the right
wing unexpectedly retreated in disorder; but when the leading fugitives
came upon those in the rear, they halted, perceiving themselves covered
by the legions, and renewed the battle.

38. This disaster had arisen from the cuirassiers seeing their commander
slightly wounded, and one of their comrades crushed under the weight of
his own arms, and of his horse, which fell upon him while they were
changing their position, on which they all fled as each could, and would
have trampled down the infantry, and thrown everything into confusion,
if the infantry had not steadily kept their ranks and stood immovable,
supporting each other. Julian, when from a distance he saw his cavalry
thus seeking safety in flight, spurred his horse towards them, and
himself stopped them like a barrier.

39. For as he was at once recognized by his purple standard of the
dragon, which was fixed to the top of a long spear, waving its fringe as
a real dragon sheds its skin, the tribune of one squadron halted, and
turning pale with alarm, hastened back to renew the battle.

40. Then, as is customary in critical moments, Julian gently reproached
his men: "Whither," said he, "gallant comrades, are ye retreating? Are
ye ignorant that flight, which never insures safety, proves the folly of
having made a vain attempt? Let us return to our army, to be partakers
of their glory, and not rashly desert those who are fighting for the

41. Saying these words in a dignified tone, he led them all back to
discharge their duties in the fight, imitating in this the ancient hero
Sylla, if we make allowances for the difference of situation. For when
Sylla, having led his army against Archelaus, the general of
Mithridates, became exhausted by the violence of the conflict, and was
deserted by all his soldiers, he ran to the foremost rank, and seizing a
standard he turned it against the enemy, exclaiming, "Go! ye once chosen
companions of my dangers; and when you are asked where I, your general,
was left, tell them this truth,--alone in Boeotia, fighting for us
all, to his own destruction."

42. The Allemanni, when our cavalry had been thus driven back and thrown
into confusion, attacked the first line of our infantry, expecting to
find their spirit abated, and to be able to rout them without much

43. But when they came to close quarters with them, they found they had
met an equal match. The conflict lasted long; for the Cornuti and
Braccati,[66] veterans of great experience in war, frightening even by
their gestures, shouted their battle cry, and the uproar, through the
heat of the conflict, rising up from a gentle murmur, and becoming
gradually louder and louder, grew fierce as that of waves dashing
against the rocks; the javelins hissed as they flew hither and thither
through the air; the dust rose to the sky in one vast cloud, preventing
all possibility of seeing, and causing arms to fall upon arms, man upon

44. But the barbarians, in their undisciplined anger and fury, raged
like the flames; and with ceaseless blows of their swords sought to
pierce through the compact mass of the shields with which our soldiers
defended themselves, as with the testudo.[67]

45. And when this was seen, the Batavi, with the royal legion, hastened
to the support of their comrades, a formidable band, well able, if
fortune aided them, to save even those who were in the extremest danger.
And amid the fierce notes of their trumpets, the battle again raged with
undiminished ferocity.

46. But the Allemanni, still charging forward impetuously, strove more
and more vigorously, hoping to bear down all opposition by the violence
of their fury. Darts, spears, and javelins never ceased; arrows pointed
with iron were shot; while at the same time, in hand-to-hand conflict,
sword struck sword, breastplates were cloven, and even the wounded, if
not quite exhausted with loss of blood, rose up still to deeds of
greater daring.

47. In some sense it may be said that the combatants were equal. The
Allemanni were the stronger and the taller men; our soldiers by great
practice were the more skilful. The one were fierce and savage, the
others composed and wary; the one trusted to their courage, the others
to their physical strength.

48. Often, indeed, the Roman soldier was beaten down by the weight of
his enemy's arms, but he constantly rose again; and then, on the other
hand, the barbarian, finding his knees fail under him with fatigue,
would rest his left knee on the ground, and even in that position
attack his enemy, an act of extreme obstinacy.

49. Presently there sprang forward with sudden vigour a fiery band of
nobles, among whom also were the princes of the petty tribes, and, as
the common soldiers followed them in great numbers, they burst through
our lines, and forced a path for themselves up to the principal legion
of the reserve, which was stationed in the centre, in a position called
the prætorian camp; and there the soldiery, being in closer array, and
in densely serried ranks, stood firm as so many towers, and renewed the
battle with increased spirit. And intent upon parrying the blows of the
enemy, and covering themselves with their shields as the Mirmillos[68]
do, with their drawn swords wounded their antagonists in the sides,
which their too vehement impetuosity left unprotected.

50. And thus the barbarians threw away their lives in their struggles
for victory, while toiling to break the compact array of our battalions.
But still, in spite of the ceaseless slaughter made among them by the
Romans, whose courage rose with their success, fresh barbarians
succeeded those who fell; and as the frequent groans of the dying were
heard, many became panic-stricken, and lost all strength.

51. At last, exhausted by their losses, and having no strength for
anything but flight, they sought to escape with all speed by different
roads, like as sailors and traders, when the sea rages in a storm, are
glad to flee wherever the wind carries them. But any one then present
will confess that escape was a matter rather to be wished than hoped

52. And the merciful protection of a favourable deity was present on our
side, so that our soldiers, now slashing at the backs of the fugitives,
and finding their swords so battered that they were insufficient to
wound, used the enemy's own javelins, and so slew them. Nor could any
one of the pursuers satiate himself enough with their blood, nor allow
his hand to weary with slaughter, nor did any one spare a suppliant out
of pity.

53. Numbers, therefore, lay on the ground, mortally wounded, imploring
instant death as a relief; others, half dead with failing breath turned
their dying eyes to the last enjoyment of the light. Of some the heads
were almost cut off by the huge weapons, and merely hung by small strips
to their necks; others, again, who had fallen because the ground had
been rendered slippery by the blood of their comrades, without
themselves receiving any wound, were killed by being smothered in the
mass of those who fell over them.

54. While these events were proceeding thus prosperously for us, the
conquerors pressed on vigorously, though the edges of their weapons were
blunted by frequent use, and shining helmets and shields were trampled
under foot. At last, in the extremity of their distress, the barbarians,
finding the heaps of corpses block up all the paths, sought the aid of
the river, which was the only hope left to them, and which they had now

55. And because our soldiers unweariedly and with great speed pressed,
with arms in their hands, upon the fleeing bands, many, hoping to be
able to deliver themselves from danger by their skill in swimming,
trusted their lives to the waves. And Julian, with prompt apprehension,
seeing what would be the result, strictly forbade the tribunes and
captains to allow any of our men to pursue them so eagerly as to trust
themselves to the dangerous currents of the river.

56. In consequence of which order they halted on the brink, and from it
wounded the Germans with every kind of missile; while, if any of them
escaped from death of that kind by the celerity of their movements, they
still sunk to the bottom from the weight of their own arms.

57. And as sometimes in a theatrical spectacle the curtain exhibits
marvellous figures, so here one could see many strange things in that
danger; some unconsciously clinging to others who were good swimmers,
others who were floating were pushed off by those less encumbered as so
many logs, others again, as if the violence of the stream itself fought
against them, were swallowed up in the eddies. Some supported themselves
on their shields avoiding the heaviest attacks of the opposing waves by
crossing them in an oblique direction, and so, after many dangers,
reached the opposite brink, till at last the foaming river, discoloured
with barbarian blood, was itself amazed at the unusual increase it had

58. And while this was going on, Chnodomarius, the king, finding an
opportunity of escaping, making his way over the heaps of dead with a
small escort, hastened with exceeding speed towards the camp which he
had made near the two Roman fortresses of Alstatt and Lauterbourg, in
the country of the Tribocci, that he might embark in some boats which
had already been prepared in case of any emergency, and so escape to
some secret hiding-place in which he might conceal himself.

59. And because it was impossible for him to reach his camp without
crossing the Rhine, he hid his face that he might not be recognized, and
after that retreated slowly. And when he got near the bank of the river,
as he was feeling his way round a marsh, partly overflowed, seeking some
path by which to cross it, his horse suddenly stumbled in some soft and
sticky place, and he was thrown down, but though he was fat and heavy,
he without delay reached the shelter of a hill in the neighbourhood;
there he was recognized (for indeed he could not conceal who he was,
being betrayed by the greatness of his former fortune): and immediately
a squadron of cavalry came up at full gallop with its tribune, and
cautiously surrounded the wooded mound; though they feared to enter the
thicket lest they should fall into any ambuscade concealed among the

60. But when he saw them he was seized with extreme terror, and of his
own accord came forth by himself and surrendered; and his companions,
two hundred in number, and his three most intimate friends, thinking it
would be a crime in them to survive their king, or not to die for him if
occasion required, gave themselves up also as prisoners.

61. And, as barbarians are naturally low spirited in adverse fortune,
and very much the reverse in moments of prosperity, so now that he was
in the power of another he became pale and confused, his consciousness
of guilt closing his mouth; widely different from him who lately,
insulting the ashes of the Gauls with ferocious and lamentable violence,
poured forth savage threats against the whole empire.

62. Now after these affairs were thus by the favour of the deity brought
to an end, the victorious soldiers were recalled at the close of the
day to their camp by the signal of the trumpeter, and marched towards
the bank of the Rhine, and there erecting a rampart of shields piled
together in several rows, they refreshed themselves with food and sleep.

63. There fell in this battle, of Romans 243, and four generals:
Bainobaudes, the tribune of the Cornuti, and with him Laipso, and
Innocentius, who commanded the cuirassiers and one tribune who had no
particular command, and whose name I forget. But of the Allemanni, there
were found 6000 corpses on the field, and incalculable numbers were
carried down by the waves of the river.

64. Then Julian, as one who was now manifestly approved by fortune, and
was also greater in his merit than even in his authority, was by
unanimous acclamation hailed as Augustus by the soldiers; but he sharply
reproved them for so doing, affirming with an oath that he neither
wished for such an honour, nor would accept it.

65. In order to increase the joy at his recent success, Julian ordered
Chnodomarius to be brought before him at his council; who at first
bowing, and then like a suppliant, prostrating himself on the ground,
and imploring pardon with entreaties framed after the fashion of his
nation, was bidden to take courage.

66. A few days afterwards he was conducted to the court of the emperor,
and thence he was sent to Rome, where he died of a lethargy in the
foreign camp which is stationed on Mons Cælius.

67. Notwithstanding that these numerous and important events were
brought to so happy an issue, some persons in the palace of Constantius,
disparaging Julian in order to give pleasure to the emperor, in a tone
of derision called him Victorinus, because he, modestly relating how
often he had been employed in leading the army, at the same time related
that the Germans had received many defeats.

68. They at the same time, by loading the emperor with empty praises, of
which the extravagance was glaringly conspicuous, so inflated an
inherent pride, already beyond all natural bounds, that he was led to
believe that, whatever took place in the whole circumference of the
earth was owing to his fortunate auspices.

69. So that, being inflated by the pompous language of his flatterers,
he then, and at all subsequent periods, became accustomed in all the
edicts which he published to advance many unfounded statements;
assuming, that he by himself had fought and conquered, when in fact he
had not been present at anything that had happened; often also asserting
that he had raised up the suppliant kings of conquered nations. For
instance, if while he was still in Italy any of his generals had fought
a brilliant campaign against the Persians, the emperor would write
triumphant letters to the provinces without the slightest mention of the
general throughout its whole length, relating with odious self-praise
how he himself had fought in the front ranks.

70. Lastly, edicts of his are still extant, laid up among the public
records of the empire ... relating ...[69] and extolling himself to the
skies. A letter also is to be found, though he was forty days' journey
from Strasburg when the battle was fought, describing the engagement,
saying that he marshalled the army, stood among the standard-bearers,
and put the barbarians to the rout; and with amazing falsehood asserting
that Chnodomarius was brought before him, without (oh shameful
indignity!) saying a single word about the exploits of Julian; which he
would have utterly buried in oblivion if fame had not refused to let
great deeds die, however many people may try to keep them in the shade.

[59] The text is defective here, as it is wherever these marks occur.

[60] Coblenz.

[61] Julius Cæsar: the story of the frightened fisherman being
encouraged by the assurance that he was carrying "Cæsar and his
fortunes" is universally known.

[62] Claudius, who devoted himself in the Gothic war.

[63] Galerius Maximianus, who reconnoitred in person the camp of the
king of Persia.

[64] The word is derived from κλιβανον, an oven, and seems to
mean entirely clothed in iron.

[65] Valeria was a division of Pannonia, so called from Valeria, the
daughter of Diocletian, and the wife of Galerius.

[66] Troops named from the fashion of their arms; the Cornuti having
projections like horns on their helmets, the Braccati wearing drawers.

[67] The testudo was properly applied to the manner in which they locked
their shields over their heads while advancing to storm a walled town.

[68] The Mirmillo was a gladiator opposed to a Retiarius, protecting
himself by his oblong shield against the net of the latter.

[69] The text is mutilated here, as in many other passages similarly



     I. Julian crosses the Rhine and plunders and burns the towns of the
     Allemanni, repairs the fortress of Trajan, and grants the
     barbarians a truce for ten months.--II. He hems in six hundred
     Franks who are devastating the second Germania, and starves them
     into surrender.--III. He endeavours to relieve the Gauls from some
     of the tribute which weighs them down.--IV. By order of the Emperor
     Constantius an obelisk is erected at Rome in the Circus
     Maximus;--some observations on obelisks and on hieroglyphics.--V.
     Constantius and Sapor, king of the Persians, by means of
     ambassadors and letters, enter into a vain negotiation for
     peace.--VI. The Nethargi, an Allemanni tribe, are defeated in the
     Tyrol, which they were laying waste.--VII. Nicomedia is destroyed
     by an earthquake; some observations on earthquakes--VIII. Julian
     receives the surrender of the Salii, a Frankish tribe. He defeats
     one body of the Chamavi, takes another body prisoners, and grants
     peace to the rest.--IX. He repairs three forts on the Meuse that
     had been destroyed by the barbarians. His soldiers suffer from
     want, and become discontented and reproachful.--X. Surmarius and
     Hortarius, kings of the Allemanni, surrender their prisoners and
     obtain peace from Julian.--XI. Julian, after his successes in Gaul,
     is disparaged at the court of Constantius by enviers of his fame,
     and is spoken of as inactive and cowardly.--XII. The Emperor
     Constantius compels the Sarmatians to give hostage, and to restore
     their prisoners; and imposes a king on the Sarmatian exiles, whom
     he restores to their country and to freedom.--XIII. He compels the
     Limigantes, after defeating them with great slaughter, to emigrate,
     and harangues his own soldiers.--XIV. The Roman ambassadors, who
     had been sent to treat for peace, return from Persia; and Sapor
     returns into Armenia and Mesopotamia.


A.D. 357.

§ 1. After the various affairs which we have described were brought to a
conclusion, the warlike young prince, now that the battle of Strasburg
had secured him the navigation of the Rhine, felt anxious that the
ill-omened birds should not feed on the corpses of the slain, and so
ordered them all to be buried without distinction. And having dismissed
the ambassadors whom we have mentioned as having come with some arrogant
messages before the battle, he returned to Saverne.

2. From this place he ordered all the booty and the prisoners to be
brought to Metz, to be left there till his return. Then departing for
Mayence, to lay down a bridge at that city and to seek the barbarians in
their own territories, since he had left none of them in arms, he was at
first met by great opposition on the part of his army; but addressing
them with eloquence and persuasion he soon won them to his opinion. For
their affection for him, becoming strengthened by repeated experience,
induced them to follow one who shared in all their toils, and who, while
never surrendering his authority, was still accustomed, as every one
saw, to impose more labour on himself than on his men. They soon arrived
at the appointed spot, and, crossing the river by a bridge they laid
down, occupied the territory of the enemy.

3. The barbarians, amazed at the greatness of his enterprise, inasmuch
as they had fancied they were situated in a position in which they could
hardly be disturbed, were now led by the destruction of their countrymen
to think anxiously of their own future fate, and accordingly, pretending
to implore peace that they might escape from the violence of his first
invasion, they sent ambassadors to him with a set message, offering a
lasting treaty of agreement; but (though it is not known what design or
change of circumstances altered their purpose) they immediately
afterwards sent off some others with all speed, to threaten our troops
with implacable war if they did not at once quit their territories.

4. And when this was known, the Cæsar, as soon as all was quiet, at the
beginning of night embarked 800 men in some small swift boats, with the
intention that they should row with all their strength up stream for
some distance, and then land and destroy all they could find with fire
and sword.

5. After he had made this arrangement, the barbarians were seen at
daybreak on the tops of the mountains, on which our soldiers were led
with speed to the higher ground; and when no enemy was found there
(since the barbarians, divining their plan, immediately retreated to a
distance), presently large volumes of smoke were seen, which indicated
that our men had broken into the enemy's territory, and were laying it

6. This event broke the spirit of the Germans, who, deserting the
ambuscades which they had laid for our men in narrow defiles full of
lurking-places, they fled across the river Maine to carry aid to their

7. For, as is often the case in times of uncertainty and difficulty,
they were panic-stricken by the incursion of our cavalry on the one
side, and the sudden attacks of our infantry, conveyed in boats, on the
other; and therefore, relying on their knowledge of the country, they
sought safety in the rapidity of their flight; and, as their retreat
left the motions of our troops free, we plundered the wealthy farms of
their crops and their cattle, sparing no one. And having carried off a
number of prisoners, we set fire to, and burnt to the ground all their
houses, which in that district were built more carefully than usual, in
the Roman fashion.

8. And when we had penetrated a distance of ten miles, till we came near
a wood terrible from the denseness of its shade, our army halted for a
while, and stayed its advance, having learnt from information given by a
deserter that a number of enemies were concealed in some subterranean
passages and caverns with many entrances in the neighbourhood, ready to
sally forth when a favourable opportunity should appear.

9. Nevertheless our men presently ventured to advance in full
confidence, and found the roads blockaded by oaks, ashes, and pines, of
great size, cut down and laid together. And so they retreated with
caution, perceiving that it was impossible to advance except by long and
rugged defiles; though they could hardly restrain their indignation at
being compelled to do so.

10. The weather too became very severe, so that they were enveloped in
all kinds of toil and danger to no purpose (forasmuch as it was now past
the autumnal equinox, and the snow, which had already fallen in those
regions, covered the mountains and the plains), and so, instead of
proceeding, Julian undertook a work worthy of being related.

11. He repaired with great expedition, while there was no one to hinder
him, the fortress which Trajan had constructed in the territory of the
Allemanni, and to which he had given his own name, and which had lately
been attacked with great violence and almost destroyed. And he placed
there a temporary garrison, and also some magazines, which he had
collected from the barbarians.

12. But when the Allemanni saw these preparations made for their
destruction, they assembled rapidly in great consternation at what had
already been done, and sent ambassadors to implore peace, with prayers
of extreme humility. And the Cæsar, now that he had fully matured and
secured the success of all his designs, taking into consideration all
probabilities, granted them a truce for ten months. In reality he was
especially influenced by this prudent consideration, that the camp which
he had thus occupied without hindrance, in a way that could hardly have
been hoped for, required, nevertheless, to be fortified with mural
engines and other adequate equipments.

13. Trusting to this truce, three of the most ferocious of those kings
who had sent reinforcements to their countrymen when defeated at
Strasburg, came to him, though still in some degree of alarm, and took
the oaths according to the formula in use in their country, that they
would create no further disturbance, but that they would keep the truce
faithfully up to the appointed day, because that had been the decision
of our generals; and that they would not attack the fortress; and that
they would even bring supplies to it on their shoulders if the garrison
informed them that they were in want; all which they promised, because
their fear bridled their treachery.

14. In this memorable war, which deserves to be compared with those
against the Carthaginians or the Gauls, yet was accompanied with very
little loss to the republic, Julian triumphed as a fortunate and
successful leader. The very smallness of his losses might have given
some colour to the assertions of his detractors, who declared that he
had only fought bravely on all occasions, because he preferred dying
gloriously to being put to death like his brother Gallus, as a condemned
malefactor, as they had expected he would be, if he had not, after the
death of Constantius, continued to distinguish himself equally by
splendid exploits.


§ 1. Now when everything was settled in that country as fairly as the
case permitted, Julian, returning to his winter quarters, found some
trouble still left for him. Severus, the master of the horse, being on
the way to Rheims through Cologne and Juliers, fell in with some strong
battalions of Franks, consisting of six hundred light-armed soldiers,
who were laying waste those places which were not defended by garrisons.
They had been encouraged to this audacious wickedness by the opportunity
afforded them when the Cæsar was occupied in the remote districts of the
Allemanni, thinking to obtain a rich booty without any hindrance. But in
fear of the army which had now returned, they occupied two fortresses
which had been abandoned for some time, and defended themselves there as
long as they could.

2. Julian, amazed at the novelty of such an attempt, and thinking it
impossible to say how far such a spirit would spread if he allowed it to
pass without a check, halted his soldiers, and gave orders to blockade
the forts.... The Meuse passes beneath them; and the blockade was
protracted for fifty-four days, through nearly the entire months of
December and January, the barbarians resisting with incredible obstinacy
and courage.

3. Then the Cæsar, like an experienced general, fearing that the
barbarians might take advantage of some moonless night to cross over the
river, which was now thoroughly frozen, ordered soldiers to go up and
down the stream every day in light boats, from sunset till daybreak, so
as to break the crust of ice and prevent any one from escaping in that
manner. Owing to this manoeuvre, the barbarians were so exhausted by
hunger, watching, and the extremity of despair, that at last they
voluntarily surrendered, and were immediately sent to the court of the

4. And a vast multitude of Franks, who had come to their assistance,
hearing that they were taken prisoners and sent off, would not venture
on any further enterprise, but returned to their own country. And when
this affair was finished, the Cæsar retired to Paris to pass the winter


§ 1. It was now expected that a number of tribes would unite in greater
force, and therefore the prudent Julian, bearing in mind the
uncertainties of war, became very anxious and full of care. And as he
thought that the truce lately made, though not free from trouble, and
not of long duration, still gave him opportunity to remedy some things
which were faulty, he began to remodel the arrangements about tribute.

2. And when Florentius, the prefect of the prætorium, having taken an
estimate of everything, affirmed that whatever deficiency there might be
in the produce of a capitation tax he should be able to make good from
what he could levy by force, Julian, deprecating this practice,
determined to lose his own life rather than permit it.

3. For he knew that the wounds inflicted by such extortions, or, as I
should rather call them, confiscations, are incurable, and have often
reduced provinces to extreme destitution. Indeed, such conduct, as will
be related hereafter, utterly lost us Illyricum.

4. And when, owing to this resolution of his, the prætorian prefect
exclaimed that it could not be endured that he, to whom the emperor had
intrusted the chief authority in this matter, should be thus distrusted,
Julian attempted to appease him, showing by exact and accurate
calculations that the capitation tax was not only enough, but more than
enough to provide all the necessary supplies.

5. And when some time afterwards an edict for a supplementary tax was
nevertheless presented to him by Florentius, he refused to sign or even
to read it; and threw it on the ground; and when warned by letters from
the emperor (written on receiving the prefect's report) not to act in so
embarrassing a manner, lest he should seem to be diminishing the
authority of Florentius, Julian wrote in answer, that it was a matter to
be thankful for, if a province that had been devastated in every
direction could still pay its regular taxes, without demanding from it
any extraordinary contributions, which indeed no punishments could
extort from men in a state of destitution: and then, and from that time
forward, owing to the firmness of one man, no one ever attempted to
extort anything illegal in Gaul beyond the regular taxes.

6. The Cæsar had also in another affair set an example wholly
unprecedented, entreating the prefect to intrust to him the government
of the second Belgic province, which was oppressed by manifold evils; on
the especial and single condition that no officer, either belonging to
the prefect or to the garrison, should force any one to pay anything.
And the whole people whom he thus took under his care, comforted and
relieved by this mildness, paid all the taxes due from them before the
appointed day, without any demand being made upon them.


§ 1. While Julian was thus beginning to put Gaul into a better
condition, and while Orfitus was still governor of the second province,
an obelisk was erected at Rome, in the Circus Maximus, concerning which,
as this seems a convenient opportunity, I will mention a few

2. The city of Thebes, in Egypt, built in remote ages, with enormous
walls, and celebrated also for entrances by a hundred gates, was from
this circumstance called by its founders ἑκατόμπυλος
(_Hecatompylos_); and from the name of this city the whole district is
known as Thebais.

3. When Carthage began to rise in greatness, the Carthaginian generals
conquered and destroyed Thebes by a sudden attack. And after it was
rebuilt, Cambyses, the celebrated king of Persia, who throughout his
whole life was covetous and ferocious, overran Egypt, and again attacked
this city that he might plunder it of its wealth, which was enough to
excite his envy; and he spared not even the offerings which had been
made to the gods.

4. And while he was in his savage manner moving to and fro among his
plunderers, he got entangled in his own flowing robes, and fell on his
face, and by the fall his dagger, which he wore close to his thigh, got
loose from the scabbard, and he was mortally wounded and died.

5. And long afterwards, Cornelius Gallus, who was governor of Egypt at
the time when Octavianus was emperor of Rome, impoverished the city by
plundering it of most of its treasuries; and returning to Rome on being
accused of theft and of laying waste the province, he, from fear of the
nobles, who were bitterly indignant against him, as one to whom the
emperor had committed a most honourable task, fell on his own sword and
so died. If I mistake not, he is the same person as Gallus the poet,
whose loss Virgil deplores at the end of his Bucolics, celebrating his
memory in sweet verses.

6. In this city of Thebes, among many works of art and different
structures recording the tales relating to the Egyptian deities, we saw
several obelisks in their places, and others which had been thrown down
and broken; which the ancient kings, when elated at some victory or at
the general prosperity of their affairs, had caused to be hewn out of
mountains in distant parts of the world, and erected in honour of the
gods, to whom they solemnly consecrated them.

7. Now an obelisk is a rough stone, rising to a great height, shaped
like a pillar in the stadium; and it tapers upwards in imitation of a
sunbeam, keeping its quadrilateral shape, till it rises almost to a
point, being made smooth by the hand of a sculptor.

8. On these obelisks the ancient authority of elementary wisdom has
caused innumerable marks of strange forms all over them, which are
called hieroglyphics.

9. For the workmen, carving many kinds of birds and beasts, some even
such as must belong to another world, in order that the recollection of
the exploits which the obelisk was designed to commemorate might reach
to subsequent ages, showed by them the accomplishment of vows which the
kings had made.

10. For it was not the case then as it is now, that the established
number of letters can distinctly express whatever the human mind
conceives; nor did the ancient Egyptians write in such a manner; but
each separate character served for a separate noun or verb, and
sometimes even for an entire sense.

11. Of which fact the two following may for the present be sufficient
instances: by the figure of a vulture they indicate the name of nature;
because naturalists declare that no males are found in this class of
bird. And by the figure of a bee making honey they indicate a king;
showing by such a sign that stings as well as sweetness are the
characteristics of a ruler; and there are many similar emblems.

12. And because the flatterers, who were continually whispering into the
ear of Constantius, kept always affirming that when Augustus Octavianus
had brought two obelisks from Heliopolis, a city of Egypt, one of which
was placed in the Circus Maximus, and the other in the Campus Martius,
he yet did not venture to touch or move this one which has just been
brought to Rome, being alarmed at the greatness of such a task; I would
have those, who do not know the truth, learn that the ancient emperor,
though he moved several obelisks, left this one untouched, because it
was especially dedicated to the Sun-god, and was set up within the
precincts of his magnificent temple, which it was impious to profane;
and of which it was the most conspicuous ornament.

13. But Constantine deeming that a consideration of no importance, had
it torn up from its place, and thinking rightly that he should not be
offering any insult to religion if he removed a splendid work from some
other temple to dedicate it to the gods at Rome, which is the temple of
the whole world, let it lie on the ground for some time while
arrangements for its removal were being prepared. And when it had been
carried down the Nile, and landed at Alexandria, a ship of a burden
hitherto unexampled, requiring three hundred rowers to propel it, was
built to receive it.

14. And when these preparations were made, and after the aforenamed
emperor had died, the enterprise began to cool. However, after a time it
was at last put on board ship, and conveyed over sea, and up the stream
of the Tiber, which seemed as it were frightened, lest its own winding
waters should hardly be equal to conveying a present from the almost
unknown Nile to the walls which itself cherished. At last the obelisk
reached the village of Alexandria, three miles from the city; and then
it was placed in a cradle, and drawn slowly on, and brought through the
Ostran gate and the public fish-market to the Circus Maximus.

15. The only work remaining to be done was to raise it, which was
generally believed to be hardly, if at all, practicable. And vast beams
having been raised on end in a most dangerous manner, so that they
looked like a grove of machines, long ropes of huge size were fastened
to them, darkening the very sky with their density, as they formed a web
of innumerable threads; and into them the great stone itself, covered
over as it was with elements of writing, was bound, and gradually raised
into the empty air, and long suspended, many thousands of men turning it
round and round like a millstone, till it was at last placed in the
middle of the square; and on it was placed a brazen sphere, made
brighter with plates of gold: and as that was immediately afterwards
struck by lightning, and destroyed, a brazen figure like a torch was
placed on it, also plated with gold--to look as if the torch were fully

16. Subsequent ages also removed other obelisks; one of which is in the
Vatican, a second in the garden of Sallust; and two in the monument of

17. But the writing which is engraven on the old obelisk in the Circus,
we have set forth below in Greek characters, following in this the work
of Hermapion:--


18. The first line, beginning on the south side, bears this
interpretation--"The Sun to Ramestes the king--I have given to thee to
reign with joy over the whole earth; to thee whom the Sun and Apollo
love--to thee, the mighty truth-loving son of Heron--the god-born ruler
of the habitable earth; whom the Sun has chosen above all men, the
valiant warlike King Ramestes. Under whose power, by his valour and
might, the whole world is placed. The King Ramestes, the immortal son of
the Sun."

19. The second line is--"The mighty Apollo, who takes his stand upon
truth, the lord of the diadem, he who has honoured Egypt by becoming its
master, adorning Heliopolis, and having created the rest of the world,
and having greatly honoured the gods who have their shrines in the city
of the Sun; whom the son loves."

20. The third line--"The mighty Apollo, the all-brilliant son of the
Sun, whom the Sun chose above all others, and to whom the valiant Mars
gave gifts. Thou whose good fortune abideth for ever. Thou whom Ammon
loves. Thou who hast filled the temple of the Phoenix with good
things. Thou to whom the gods have given long life. Apollo the mighty
son of Heron, Ramestes the king of the world. Who has defended Egypt,
having subdued the foreign enemy. Whom the Sun loves. To whom the gods
have given long life--the master of the world--the immortal Ramestes."

21. Another second line--"The Sun, the great God, the master of heaven.
I have given unto thee a life free from satiety. Apollo, the mighty
master of the diadem; to whom nothing is comparable. To whom the lord of
Egypt has erected many statues in this kingdom. And has made the city of
Heliopolis as brilliant as the Sun himself, the master of heaven. The
son of the Sun, the king living for ever, has co-operated in the
completion of this work."

22. A third line--"I, the Sun, the god, the master of heaven, have given
to Ramestes the king might and authority over all. Whom Apollo the
truth-lover, the master of time, and Vulcan the father of the gods hath
chosen above others by reason of his courage. The all-rejoicing king,
the son of the Sun, and beloved by the Sun."

23. The first line, looking towards the east--"The great God of
Heliopolis, the mighty Apollo who dwelleth in Heaven, the son of Heron
whom the Sun hath guided. Whom the gods have honoured. He who ruleth
over all the earth: whom the Sun has chosen before all others. The king
valiant by the favour of Mars. Whom Ammon loveth, and the all-shining
god, who hath chosen him as a king for everlasting." And so on.


A.D. 358.

§ 1. In the consulship of Datianus and Cerealis, when all arrangements
in Gaul were made with more careful zeal than before, and while the
terror caused by past events still checked the outbreaks of the
barbarians, the king of the Persians, being still on the frontiers of
those nations which border on his dominions, and having made a treaty of
alliance with the Chionitæ and the Gelani, the most warlike and
indefatigable of all tribes, being about to return to his own country,
received the letters of Tamsapor which announced to him that the Roman
emperor was a suppliant for peace.

2. And he, suspecting that Constantius would never have done so if the
empire had not been weakened all over, raised his own pretensions, and
embracing the name indeed of peace, offered very unwelcome conditions.
And having sent a man of the name of Narses as ambassador with many
presents, he gave him letters to Constantius, in which he in no respect
abated of his natural pride. The purport of these letters we have
understood to be this:--

3. "I, Sapor, king of kings, partner of the stars, brother of the sun
and moon, to Constantius Cæsar my brother send much greeting. I am glad
and am well pleased that at last thou hast returned to the right way,
and hast acknowledged the incorruptible decree of equity, having gained
experience by facts, and having learnt what disasters an obstinate
covetousness of the property of others has often caused.

4. "Because therefore the language of truth ought to be unrestrained and
free, and because men in the highest rank ought only to say what they
mean, I will reduce my propositions into a few words; remembering that I
have already often repeated what I am now about to say.

5. "Even your own ancient records bear witness that my ancestors
possessed all the country up to the Strymon and the frontier of
Macedonia. And these lands it is fitting that I who (not to speak
arrogantly) am superior to those ancient kings in magnificence, and in
all eminent virtues, should now reclaim. But I am at all times
thoughtful to remember that, from my earliest youth, I have never done
anything to repent of.

6. "And therefore it is a duty in me to recover Armenia and Mesopotamia,
which were wrested from my ancestor by deliberate treachery. That
principle was never admitted by us which you with exultation assert,
that all successes in war deserve praise, without considering whether
they were achieved by valour or by treachery.

7. "Lastly, if you are willing to be guided by one who gives you good
advice, I would bid you despise a small part of your dominions which is
ever the parent of sorrow and bloodshed, in order to reign in safety
over the rest. Wisely considering that physicians also sometimes apply
cautery or amputation, and cut off portions of the body that the patient
may have good use of the rest of his limbs. Nay, that even beasts do the
same: since when they observe on what account they are most especially
hunted, they will of their own accord deprive themselves of that, in
order henceforth to be able to live in security.

8. "This, in short, I declare, that should my present embassy return
without having succeeded in its object, after giving the winter season
to rest I will gird myself up with all my strength, and while fortune
and justice give me a well-founded hope of ultimate success, I will
hasten my march as much as Providence will permit."

9. Having given long consideration to this letter, the emperor with
upright and wise heart, as the saying is, made answer in this manner:--

10. "Constantius, always august, conqueror by land and sea, to my
brother Sapor much health. I congratulate thee on thy safety, as one who
is willing to be a friend to thee if thou wilt. But I greatly blame thy
insatiable covetousness, now more grasping than ever.

11. "Thou demandest Mesopotamia as thine own, and then Armenia. And thou
biddest me cut off some members from my sound body in order to place its
health on a sound footing: a demand which is to be rejected at once
rather than to be encouraged by any consent. Receive therefore the
truth, not covered with any pretences, but clear, and not to be shaken
by any threats.

12. "The prefect of my prætorian guard, thinking to undertake an affair
which might be beneficial to the state, without my knowledge discoursed
about peace with thy generals, by the agency of some low persons. Peace
we should neither regret nor refuse--let it only come with credit and
honour, in such a way as to impair neither our self-respect nor our

13. "For it would be an unbecoming and shameful thing when all men's
ears are filled with our exploits, so as to have shut even the mouth of
envy; when after the destruction of tyrants the whole Roman world obeys
us, to give up those territories which even when limited to the narrow
boundaries of the east we preserved undiminished.

14. "But I pray thee make an end of the threats which thou utterest
against me, in obedience to thy national habit, when it cannot be
doubted that it is not from inactivity, but from moderation, that we
have at times endured attacks instead of being the assailants ourselves:
and know that, whenever we are attacked, we defend our own with bravery
and good will: being assured both by thy reading and thy personal
experience that in battle it has been rare for Romans to meet with
disaster; and that in the final issue of a war we have never come off
the worst."

15. The embassy was therefore dismissed without gaining any of its
objects; and indeed no other reply could be given to the unbridled
covetousness of the king. And a few days afterwards, Count Prosper
followed, and Spectatus the tribune and secretary; and also, by the
suggestion of Musonianus, Eustathius the philosopher, as one skilful in
persuading, bearing a letter from the emperor, and presents, with a view
to induce Sapor to suspend his preparations, so that all our attention
might be turned to fortifying the northern provinces in the most
effective manner.


§ 1. Now while these affairs, of so doubtful a complexion, were
proceeding, that portion of the Allemanni which borders on the regions
of Italy, forgetful of the peace and of the treaties which they only
obtained by abject entreaty, laid waste the Tyrol with such fury that
they even went beyond their usual habit in undertaking the siege of some
walled towns.

2. And when a strong force had been sent to repel them under the command
of Barbatio, who had been promoted to the command of the infantry in the
room of Silvanus, a man of not much activity, but a fluent talker, he,
as his troops were in a high state of indignation at the invaders, gave
them so terrible a defeat, that only a very few, who took to flight in
their panic, escaped to carry back their tears and lamentations to their

3. In this battle Nevitta, who afterwards became consul, was present as
commander of a squadron of cavalry, and displayed great gallantry.


§ 1. This year also some terrible earthquakes took place in Macedonia,
Asia Minor, and Pontus, and their repeated shocks overthrew many towns,
and even mountains. But the most remarkable of all the manifold
disasters which they caused was the entire ruin of Nicomedia, the
metropolis of Bithynia; which I will here relate with truth and brevity.

2. On the 23rd of August, at daybreak, some heavy black clouds suddenly
obscured the sky, which just before was quite fair. And the sun was so
wholly concealed that it was impossible to see what was near or even
quite close, so completely did a thick lurid darkness settle on the
ground, preventing the least use of the eyes.

3. Presently, as if the supreme deity were himself letting loose his
fatal wrath, and stirring up the winds from their hinges, a violent
raging storm descended, by the fury of which the groaning mountains were
struck, and the crash of the waves on the shore was heard to a vast
distance. And then followed typhoons and whirlwinds with a horrid
trembling of the earth, throwing down the whole city and its suburbs.

4. And as most of the houses were built on the slopes of the hills, they
now fell down one over the other, while all around resounded with the
vast crash of their fall. In the mean time the tops of the hills
re-echoed all sorts of noises, as well as outcries of men seeking their
wives and children, and other relations.

5. At last, after two hours, or at least within three, the air became
again clear and serene, and disclosed the destruction which till then
was unseen. Some, overwhelmed by the enormous masses of ruins which had
fallen upon them, were crushed to death. Some were buried up to the
neck, and might have been saved if there had been any timely help at
hand, but perished for want of assistance; others were transfixed by the
points of beams projecting forth, on which they hung suspended.

6. Here was seen a crowd of persons slain by one blow; there a
promiscuous heap of corpses piled in various ways--some were buried
beneath the roofs of falling houses, which leant over so as to protect
them from any actual blows, but reserved them for an agonizing death by
starvation. Among whom was Aristænetus, who, with the authority of
deputy, governed Bithynia, which had been recently erected into a
province; and to which Constantius had given the name of Piety, in
honour of his wife Eusebia, (a Greek word, equivalent to Pietas in
Latin); and he perished thus by a lingering death.

7. Others who were overwhelmed by the sudden fall of vast buildings, are
still lying entombed beneath the immovable masses. Some with their
skulls fractured, or their shoulders or legs cut through, lay between
life and death, imploring aid from others suffering equally with
themselves; but in spite of their entreaties they were abandoned.

8. Not but what the greater part of the temples and buildings and of the
citizens also would have escaped unhurt, if a fire had not suddenly
broken out, which raged with great violence for fifty days and nights,
and destroyed all that remained.

9. I think this a good opportunity to enumerate a few of the conjectures
which the ancients have formed about earthquakes. For as to any accurate
knowledge of their causes, not only has that never been attained by the
ignorance of the common people, but they have equally eluded the long
lucubrations and subtle researches of natural philosophers.

10. And on this account in all priestly ceremonies, whether ritual or
pontifical, care is taken not at such times to name one god more than
another, for fear of impiety, since it is quite uncertain which god
causes these visitations.

11. But as the various opinions, among which Aristotle wavers and
hesitates, suggest, earthquakes are engendered either in small caverns
under the earth, which the Greeks call σύριγγες, because of
the waters pouring through them with a more rapid motion than usual, or,
as Anaxagoras affirms, they arise from the force of the wind penetrating
the lower parts of the earth, which, when they have got down to the
encrusted solid mass, finding no vent-holes, shake those portions in
their solid state, into which they have got entrance when in a state of
solution. And this is corroborated by the observation that at such times
no breezes of wind are felt by us above ground, because the winds are
occupied in the lowest recesses of the earth.

12. Anaximander says that the earth when burnt up by excessive heat and
drought, and also after excessive rains, opens larger fissures than
usual, which the upper air penetrates with great force and in excessive
quantities, and the earth, shaken by the furious blasts which penetrate
those fissures, is disturbed to its very foundations; for which reason
these fearful events occur either at times of great evaporation or else
at those of an extravagant fall of rain from heaven. And therefore the
ancient poets and theologians gave Neptune the name of Earthshaker,[70]
as being the power of moist substance.

13. Now earthquakes take place in four manners: either they are
_brasmatiæ_,[71] which raise up the ground in a terrible manner, and
throw vast masses up to the surface, as in Asia, Delos arose, and Hiera;
and also Anaphe and Rhodes, which has at different times been called
Ophiusa and Pelagia, and was once watered with a shower of gold;[72] and
Eleusis in Boeotia, and the Hellenian islands in the Tyrrhenian sea,
and many other islands. Or they are _climatiæ_,[73] which, with a
slanting and oblique blow, level cities, edifices, and mountains. Or
_chasmatiæ_,[74] which suddenly, by a violent motion, open huge mouths,
and so swallow up portions of the earth, as in the Atlantic sea, on the
coast of Europe, a large island[75] was swallowed up, and in the
Crissæan Gulf, Helice and Bura,[76] and in Italy, in the Ciminian
district, the town of Saccumum[77] was swallowed up in a deep gulf and
hidden in everlasting darkness. And among these three kinds of
earthquakes, _myæmotiæ_[78] are heard with a threatening roar, when the
elements either spring apart, their joints being broken, or again
resettle in their former places, when the earth also settles back; for
then it cannot be but that crashes and roars of the earth should resound
with bull-like bellowings. Let us now return to our original subject.


§ 1. Cæsar, passing his winter among the Parisii, was eagerly preparing
to anticipate the Allemanni, who were not yet assembled in one body, but
who, since the battle of Strasburg, were working themselves up to a
pitch of insane audacity and ferocity. And he was waiting with great
impatience for the month of July, when the Gallic campaigns usually
begin. For indeed he could not march before the summer had banished the
frost and cold, and allowed him to receive supplies from Aquitania.

2. But as diligence overcomes almost all difficulties, he, revolving
many plans of all kinds in his mind, at last conceived the idea of not
waiting till the crops were ripe, but falling on the barbarians before
they expected him. And having resolved on that plan, he caused his men
to take corn for twenty days' consumption from what they had in store,
and to make it into biscuit, so that it might keep longer; and this
enabled the soldiers to carry it, which they did willingly. And relying
on this provision, and setting out as before, with favourable auspices,
he reckoned that in the course of five or six months he might finish two
urgent and indispensable expeditions.

3. And when all his preparations were made, he first marched against
the Franks, that is against that tribe of them usually called Salii, who
some time before had ventured with great boldness to fix their
habitations on the Roman soil near Toxandria.[79] But when he had
reached Tongres, he was met by an embassy from this tribe, who expected
still to find him in his winter quarters, offering him peace on
condition of his leaving them unattacked and unmolested, as if the
ground they had seized were rightfully their own. Julian comprehended
the whole affair, and having given the ambassadors an ambiguous reply,
and also some presents, sent them back again, leaving them to suppose he
would remain in the same place till they returned.

4. But the moment they had departed he followed them, sending Severus
along the bank of the river, and suddenly came upon the whole settlement
like a thunderbolt; and availing himself of his victory to make a
reasonable exhibition of clemency, as indeed they met him with
entreaties rather than with resistance, he received the submission of
them and their children.

5. He then attacked the Chamavi,[80] who had been guilty of similar
audacity, and through the same celerity of movement he slew one portion
of them, and another who made a vigorous resistance he took prisoners,
while others who fled precipitately he allowed to escape unhurt to their
own territories, to avoid exhausting his soldiers with a long campaign.
And when ambassadors were afterwards sent by them to implore his pardon,
and generally to do what they could for them, when they prostrated
themselves before him, he granted them peace on condition of retiring to
their own districts without doing any mischief.


§ 1. Everything thus succeeding according to his wish, Julian, always on
the watch to establish by every means in his power the security of the
provinces on a solid foundation, determined to put in as good repair as
the time permitted those fortresses erected in a line on the banks of
the Meuse, which some time before had been destroyed by an attack of
the barbarians. And accordingly he desisted for a while from all other
operations, and restored them.

2. And that he might by a prudent rapidity insure their safety, he took
a part of the seventeen days' provisions, which troops, when going on an
expedition, carry on their backs, and stored in those forts, hoping to
replace what he thus took from the soldiers by seizing the crops of the

3. But he was greatly disappointed. For as the crops were not yet ripe,
the soldiers when they had consumed what they had with them were unable
to find food, and began to utter violent threats against Julian, mingled
with fierce cries and reproaches, calling him Asiatic, Greek, a cheat,
and a fool pretending to be wise. And as it is commonly the case among
soldiers that some men are found of remarkable fluency of speech, they
poured forth such harangues as this:--

4. "Whither are we being dragged, having lost all hope of good fortune?
We formerly, indeed, suffered terrible hardships in the snow, and cruel
biting frost; but now (oh, shame!), when we have the fate of the enemy
in our hands, we are wasting away with famine, the most miserable of all
deaths. Let no one think that we are stirrers up of tumults; we declare
that we are speaking for our very lives. We do not ask for gold or
silver, which it is long since we have touched or seen, and which are as
much denied to us as if we had been convicted of having encountered all
our toils and perils in the service of the enemies of the republic."

5. And their complaints were just. For after all his gallant exploits
and all his doubtful changes and dangers, the soldiers were exhausted by
his Gallic campaigns, without even receiving either donation or pay from
the time that Julian was sent to take the command; because he himself
had nothing to give, nor would Constantius permit anything to be drawn
for that purpose from the treasury, as had been the custom.

6. And at a later period it was manifest that this was owing more to
ill-will than to parsimony, because when Julian had given some small
coin to one of the common soldiers, who, as was the custom, had asked
for some to get shaved with, he was attacked for it with most insulting
calumnies by Gaudentius, the secretary, who had long remained in Gaul as
a spy upon his actions, and whom he himself subsequently ordered to be
put to death, as will be related in its fitting place.


§ 1. When at length their discontent was appeased by various kinds of
caresses, and when the Rhine had been crossed by a bridge of boats,
which was thrown over it, Severus, the master of the horse, up to that
time a brave and energetic soldier, suddenly lost all his vigour.

2. And he who had frequently been used to exhort the troops, both in
bodies and as individuals, to gallant acts, now seemed a base and timid
skulker from battle, as if he feared the approach of death. As we read
in the books of Tages[81] that those who are fated to be soon struck by
lightning, so lose their senses that they cannot hear thunder, or even
greater noises. And he marched on in a lazy way, not natural to him, and
even threatened with death the guides, who were leading on the army with
a brisk step, if they would not agree to say that they were wholly
ignorant of the road any further. So they, fearing his power, and being
forbidden to show the way any more, advanced no further.

3. But amid this delay, Suomarius, king of the Allemanni, arrived
unexpectedly with his suite; and he who had formerly been fierce and
eager for any injury to the Romans, was now inclined to regard it as an
unexpected gain to be permitted to retain his former possessions. And
because his looks and his gait showed him to be a suppliant, he was
received as a friend, and desired to be of good cheer. But still he
submitted himself to Julian's discretion, and implored peace on his
bended knees. And peace was granted him, with pardon for the past, on
condition of giving up our prisoners and of supplying our soldiers with
food, whenever it was required, receiving, like any ordinary purveyor,
security for payment of what he provided. But he was at the same time
warned, that if he did not furnish the required supplies in time he
would be liable to be called in question for his former hostility.

4. And that which had been discreetly planned was carried out without
hindrance. Julian desiring to reach a town belonging to another
chieftain, named Hortarius, towards which object nothing seemed wanting
but guides, gave orders to Nestica, a tribune of the Scutarii, and to
Chariettoa, a man of marvellous courage, to take great pains to capture
a prisoner and to bring him to him. A youth of the Allemanni was
speedily caught and brought before him, who, on condition of obtaining
his freedom, promised to show the road. The army, following him as its
guide, was soon obstructed by an abattis of lofty trees, which had been
cut down; but by taking long and circuitous paths, they at last came to
the desired spot, and the soldiers in their rage laid waste the fields
with fire, carried off the cattle and the inhabitants, and slew all who
resisted without mercy.

5. The king, bewildered at this disaster, seeing the numerous legions,
and the remains of his burnt villages, and looking upon the last
calamities of fortune as impending over him, of his own accord implored
pardon, promising to do all that should be commanded him, and binding
himself on oath to restore all his prisoners. For that was the object
about which Julian was the most anxious. But still he restored only a
few, and detained the greater part of them.

6. When Julian knew this, he was filled with just indignation, and when
the king came to receive the customary presents, the Cæsar refused to
release his four companions, on whose support and fidelity the king
principally relied, till all the prisoners were restored.

7. But when the king was summoned by the Cæsar to a conference, looking
up at him with trembling eyes, he was overcome by the aspect of the
conqueror, and overwhelmed by a sense of his own embarrassing condition,
and especially by the compulsion under which he was now (since it was
reasonable that after so many successes of the Romans that the cities
which had been destroyed by the violence of the barbarians should be
rebuilt) to supply waggons and materials from his own stores and those
of his subjects.

8. And after he had promised to do so, and had bound himself with an
oath to consent to die if he were guilty of any treachery, he was
permitted to return to his own country. For he could not be compelled to
furnish provisions like Suomarius, because his land had been so utterly
laid waste that nothing could be found on it for him to give.

9. Thus those kings who were formerly so proud and accustomed to grow
rich by the plunder of our citizens, were now brought under the Roman
yoke; and as if they had been born and brought up among our tributaries,
they submitted to our commands, though with reluctance. And when these
events were thus brought to a conclusion, the Cæsar distributed his army
among its usual stations, and returned to his winter quarters.


§ 1. When these transactions presently became known in the court of
Constantius--for the knowledge of them could not be concealed, since the
Cæsar, as if he had been merely an officer of the emperor's, referred to
him on all occasions--those who had the greatest influence in the
palace, being skilful professors of flattery, turned all Julian's
well-arranged plans and their successful accomplishment into ridicule;
continually uttering such malicious sayings as this, "We have had enough
of the goat and his victories;" sneering at Julian because of his beard,
and calling him a chattering mole, a purple-robed ape, and a Greek
pedant. And pouring forth numbers of sneers of the same kind, acceptable
to the emperor, who liked to hear them, they endeavoured with shameless
speeches to overwhelm Julian's virtues, slandering him as a lazy, timid,
carpet-knight, and one whose chief care was to set off his exploits by
fine descriptions; it not being the first time that such a thing had
been done.

2. For the greatest glory is always exposed to envy. So we read in
respect of the illustrious generals of old, that, though no fault could
be found in them, still the malignity which found offence in their
greatest actions was constantly inventing false charges and accusations
against them.

3. In the same manner Cimon the son of Miltiades, who destroyed a vast
host of the Persians on the Eurymedon, a river in Pamphylia, and
compelled a nation always insolent and arrogant to beg for peace most
humbly, was accused of intemperance; and again Scipio Æmilianus, by
whose indomitable vigilance two[82] most powerful cities, which had made
great efforts to injure Rome, were both destroyed, was disparaged as a
mere drone.

4. Moreover, wicked detractors, scrutinizing the character of Pompey,
when no pretext for finding fault with him could be discovered, remarked
two qualities in which they could raise a laugh against him; one that he
had a sort of natural trick of scratching his head with one finger:
another that for the purpose of concealing an unsightly sore, he used to
bind one of his legs with a white bandage. Of which habits, the first
they said showed a dissolute man; the second, one eager for a change of
government; contending, with a somewhat meagre argument, that it did not
signify what part of his body he clothed with a badge of royal dignity;
so snarling at that man of whom the most glorious proofs show that no
braver and truer patriot ever lived.

5. During these transactions, Artemius, the deputy governor of Rome,
succeeded Bassus in the prefecture also; for Bassus, who had lately been
promoted to be prefect of the city, had since died. His administration
had been marked by turbulent sedition, but by no other events
sufficiently memorable to deserve mention.


§ 1. In the mean time, while the emperor was passing the winter quietly
at Sirmium, he received frequent and trustworthy intelligence that the
Sarmatians and the Quadi, two tribes contiguous to each other, and
similar in manners and mode of warfare, were conjointly overrunning
Pannonia and the second province of Moesia, in straggling detachments.

2. These tribes are more suited to predatory incursions than to regular
war; they carry long spears, and wear breastplates made of horn scraped
and polished, let into linen jackets, so that the layers of horn are
like the feathers of a bird. Their horses are chiefly geldings, lest at
the sight of mares they should be excited and run away, or, when held
back in reserve, should betray their riders by their fierce neighing.

3. They cover vast spaces in their movements, whether in pursuit or in
retreat, their horses being swift and very manageable; and they lead
with them one or sometimes two spare chargers apiece, in order that the
change may keep up the strength of their cattle, and that their vigour
may be preserved by alternations of rest.

4. Therefore, after the vernal equinox was past, the emperor, having
collected a strong body of soldiers, marched forth under the guidance of
propitious fortune. Having arrived at a suitable place, he crossed the
Danube, which was now flooded from the melting of the snow, by a bridge
of boats, and descended on the lands of the barbarians, which he began
to lay waste. They, being taken by surprise through the rapidity of his
march, and seeing that the battalions of his warlike army were at their
throats, when they had not supposed it possible that such a force could
be collected for a year, had no courage to make a stand, but, as the
only means of escaping unexpected destruction, took to flight.

5. When many had been slain, fear fettering their steps, those whose
speed had saved them from death hid themselves among the secret defiles
of the mountains, and from thence beheld their country destroyed by the
sword, which they might have delivered if they had resisted with as much
vigour as they fled.

6. These events took place in that part of Sarmatia which looks towards
the second Pannonia. Another military expedition, conducted with equal
courage, routed the troops of the barbarians in Valeria, who were
plundering and destroying everything within their reach.

7. Terrified at the greatness of this disaster, the Sarmatians, under
pretext of imploring peace, planned to divide their force into three
bodies, and to attack our army while in a state of fancied security; so
that they should neither be able to prepare their weapons, nor avoid
wounds, nor (which is the last resource in a desperate case) take to

8. There were with the Sarmatians likewise on this occasion, as
partners in their danger, the Quadi,[83] who had often before taken part
in the injuries inflicted on us; but their prompt boldness did not help
them on this occasion, rushing as they did into open danger.

9. For many of them were slain, and the survivors escaped among the
hills, with which they were familiar. And as this event raised the
spirits and courage of our army, they united in solid columns, and
marched with speed into the territories of the Quadi; who, having learnt
by the past to dread the evils which impended over them, came boldly
into the emperor's presence to implore peace as suppliants, since he was
inclined to be merciful in such cases. On the day appointed for settling
the conditions, one of their princes named Zizais, a young man of great
stature, marshalled the ranks of the Sarmatians to offer their
entreaties of peace in the fashion of an army; and as soon as they came
within sight, he threw away his arms, and fell like one dead,
prostrating himself on his breast before the emperor; his very voice
from fear refusing its office, when he ought to have uttered his
entreaties, he awakened the more pity, making many attempts, and being
scarcely able from the violence of his sobs to give utterance to his

10. At last, having recovered himself, and being bidden to rise up, he
knelt, and having regained the use of his tongue, he implored pardon for
his offences. His followers also, whose mouths had been closed by fear
while the fate of their leader was still doubtful, were admitted to
offer the same petition, and when he, being commanded to rise, gave them
the signal which they had been long expecting, to present their
petition, they all threw away their javelins and their shields, and held
out their hands in an attitude of supplication, striving to surpass
their prince in the humility of their entreaties.

11. Among the other Sarmatians the prince had brought with him three
chiefs of tribes, Rumo, Zinafer, and Fragiledus, and many nobles who
came to offer the same petition with earnest hope of success. And they,
being elated at the promise of safety, undertook to make amends for
their former deeds of hostility by performing the conditions now imposed
on them; giving up willingly into the power of the Romans themselves,
their wives and children, and all their possessions. The kindness of the
emperor, united with justice, subdued them; and he bidding them be of
good cheer and return to their homes, they restored our prisoners. They
also brought the hostages who were demanded of them, and promised prompt
obedience to all the emperor's commands.

12. Then, encouraged by this example of our clemency, other chieftains
came with all their tribe, by name Araharius and Usafer, men of
distinction among the nobles, and at the head of a great force of their
countrymen; one of them being chief of a portion of the Quadi who dwelt
beyond the mountains, and the other of a division of the Sarmatians: the
two being united by the proximity of their territories, and their
natural ferocity. But the emperor, fearing the number of their
followers, lest, while pretending to make a treaty, they should suddenly
rise up in arms, separated them; ordering those who were acting for the
Sarmatians to retire for a while, while he was examining into the
affairs of Araharius and the Quadi.

13. And when they presented themselves before him, bowing according to
their national custom, as they were not able to clear themselves of
heavy charges, so, fearing extreme punishment, they gave the hostages
which were demanded, though they had never before been compelled to give
pledges for their fidelity.

14. These matters being thus equitably and successfully settled, Usafer
was admitted to offer his petition, though Araharius loudly protested
against this, and maintained that the peace ratified with him ought to
comprehend Usafer also, as an ally of his though of inferior rank, and
subject to his command.

15. But when the question was discussed, the Sarmatians were pronounced
independent of any other power, as having been always vassals of the
Roman empire; and they willingly embraced the proposal of giving
hostages as a pledge of the maintenance of tranquillity.

16. After this there came a vast number of nations and princes, flocking
in crowds, when they heard that Araharius had been allowed to depart in
safety, imploring us to withdraw the sword which was at their throats;
and they also obtained the peace which they requested on similar terms,
and without any delay gave as hostages the sons of their nobles whom
they brought from the interior of the country; and they also
surrendered, as we insisted, all their prisoners, from whom they parted
as unwillingly as from their own relations.

17. When these arrangements were completed, the emperor's anxiety was
transferred to the Sarmatians, who were objects of pity rather than of
anger. It is incredible how much prosperity our connection with their
affairs had brought them, so as to give grounds for really believing,
what some persons do imagine, that Fate may be either overcome or
created at the will of the emperor.

18. There were formerly many natives of this kingdom, of high birth and
great power, but a secret conspiracy armed their slaves against them;
and as among barbarians all right consists in might, they, as they were
equal to their masters in ferocity, and superior in number, completely
overcame them.

19. And these native chiefs, losing all their wisdom in their fear, fled
to the Victohali,[84] whose settlements were at a great distance,
thinking it better in the choice of evils to become subject to their
protectors than slaves to their own slaves. But afterwards, when they
had obtained pardon from us, and had been received as faithful allies,
they deplored their hard fate, and invoked our direct protection. Moved
by the undeserved hardship of their lot, the emperor, when they were
assembled before him, addressed them with kind words in the presence of
his army, and commanded them for the future to own no master but himself
and the Roman generals.

20. And that the restoration of their liberty might carry with it
additional dignity, he made Zizais their king, a man, as the event
proved, deserving the rewards of eminent fortune, and faithful. After
these glorious transactions, none of the Sarmatians were allowed to
depart till all our prisoners had returned, as we had before insisted.

21. When these matters had been concluded in the territories of the
barbarians, the camp was moved to Szoeni,[85] that there also the
emperor might, by subjugation or slaughter, terminate the war with the
Quadi, who were keeping that district in a state of agitation. Their
prince Vitrodorus, the son of king Viduarius, and Agilimundus, an
inferior chieftain, with the other nobles and judges who governed the
different tribes, as soon as they saw the imperial army in the bosom of
their kingdom and of their native land, threw themselves at the feet of
the soldiers, and having obtained pardon, promised obedience; and gave
their children as hostages for the performance of the conditions imposed
upon them; and drawing their swords, which they worship as deities, they
swore to remain faithful.


§ 1. These matters then, as has been related, having been thus
successfully terminated, the public interests required that the army
should at once march against the Limigantes, the revolted slaves of the
Sarmatians, who had perpetrated many atrocities with impunity. For, as
soon as the countrymen of free blood had attacked us, they also,
forgetful of their former condition, thinking to take advantage of a
favourable opportunity, burst through the Roman frontier, in this
wickedness alone agreeing with their masters and enemies.

2. But on deliberation we determined that their offence also should be
punished with more moderation than its greatness deserved; and that
vengeance should limit itself to removing them to a distance where they
could no longer harass our territories. The consciousness of a long
series of crimes made them fearful of danger.

3. And therefore, suspecting that the weight of war was about to fall
upon them, they were prepared, as exigency might require, to resort to
stratagem, arms, or entreaties. But at the first sight of our army they
became as it were panic-stricken; and being reduced to despair, they
begged their lives, offering a yearly tribute, and a body of their
chosen youths for our army, and promising perpetual obedience. But they
were prepared to refuse if they were ordered to emigrate (as they showed
by their gestures and countenances), trusting to the strength of the
place where, after they had expelled their masters, they had fixed their

4. For the Parthiscus[86] waters this land, proceeding with oblique
windings till it falls into the Danube. But while it flows unmixed, it
passes through a vast extent of country, which, near its junction with
the Danube, it narrows into a very small corner, so that over on the
side of the Danube those who live in that district are protected from
the attack of the Romans, and on the side of the Parthiscus they are
secured from any irruptions of the barbarians. Since along its course
the greater part of the ground is frequently under water from the
floods, and always swampy and full of osiers, so as to be quite
impassable to strangers; and besides the mainland there is an island
close to the mouth of the river, which the stream itself seems to have
separated into its present state.

5. Accordingly, at the desire of the emperor, they came with native
arrogance to our bank of the river, not, as the result showed, with the
intention of obeying his commands, but that they might not seem alarmed
at the presence of his soldiers. And there they stood, stubbornly
showing that they had come bent on resistance.

6. And as the emperor had foreseen that this might happen, he secretly
divided his army into several squadrons, and by the rapidity of their
movements hemmed in the barbarians between his own lines. And then,
standing on a mound, with a few of his officers and a small body-guard,
he gently admonished them not to give way to ferocity.

7. But they, wavering and in doubt, were agitated by various feelings,
and mingling craft with their fury, they had recourse to arms and to
prayers at the same time. And meditating to make a sudden attack on
those of our men who were nearest, they threw their shields some
distance before them, with the intent that while they made some steps
forward to recover them, they might thus steal a little ground without
giving any indication of their purpose.

8. And as it was now nearly evening, and the departing light warned us
to avoid further delay, our soldiers raised their standards and fell
upon them with a fiery onset. And they, in close order, directed all
their force against the mound on which (as has been already said) the
emperor himself was standing, fixing their eyes on him, and uttering
fierce outcries against him.

9. Our army was indignant at such insane audacity, and forming into a
triangle, to which military simplicity has given the name of "the boar's
head," with a violent charge they scattered the barbarians now pressing
vigorously upon the emperor; on the right our infantry slew their
infantry, and on the left our cavalry dashed among their squadrons of
light horsemen.

10. The prætorian cohort, carefully guarding the emperor, spared neither
the breasts of those who attacked nor the backs of those who fled, and
the barbarians, yielding in their stubbornness to death alone, showed by
their horrid cries that they grieved not so much at their own death as
at the triumph of our army. And, beside the dead, many lay with their
legs cut off, and so deprived of the resource of flight, others had lost
their hands; some who had received no wound were crushed by the weight
of those who fell upon them, and bore their torments in profound

11. Nor, amid all their sufferings, did any one of them ask for mercy,
or throw away his sword, or implore a speedy death, but clinging
resolutely to their arms, wounded as they were, they thought it a lesser
evil to be subdued by the strength of another than by their own
consciences, and at times they were heard to grumble that what had
happened was the work of fortune, not of their deserts. And so this
whole battle was brought to an end in half an hour, in which such
numbers of barbarians fell that nothing but the fact of our victory
proved that there had been any battle at all.

12. Those in arms had scarcely been routed when the relations of the
dead, of every age and sex, were brought forward in crowds, having been
dragged from their humble dwellings. And all their former pride being
now gone, they descended to the lowest depths of servile obedience, and
after a very short time nothing but barrows of the dead and bands of
captives were beheld.

13. So, the heat of strife and the excitement of victory stimulating our
men, they rose up to destroy all who had escaped the battle, or who were
lying hidden in their dwellings. And when, eager for the blood of the
barbarians, our soldiers had reached the spot, they tore to pieces the
slight straw-thatched huts; nor could even the strongest-built cottages,
or the stoutest beams save any one from death.

14. At last, when everything was set on fire, and when no one could be
concealed any longer, since every protection for their lives was
destroyed, they either perished obstinately in the flames, or else, if
they avoided the fire and sallied out, they only escaped that
destruction to fall beneath the sword of their enemies.

15. Some, however, did escape from the weapons of the enemy and from the
spreading flames, and committed themselves to the stream, trusting to
their skill in swimming to enable them to reach the further bank; but
many of them were drowned, and others were transfixed by our javelins,
so that the winding stream of the vast river was discoloured with blood,
and thus, by the agency of both elements, did the indignation and valour
of the conquerors destroy the Sarmatians.

16. After these events it was determined to leave the barbarians no hope
nor comfort of life; and after burning their houses and carrying off
their families, an order was given to collect boats in order to hunt out
those who, being on the opposite bank of the river, had escaped the
attack of our men.

17. And immediately, that the alacrity of our warriors might have no
time to cool, some light-armed troops were embarked in boats, and led by
secret paths to occupy the retreats of the Sarmatians. The barbarians at
first were deceived by seeing only the boats of their own country, and
crews with whom they were acquainted.

18. But when the weapons glittered in the distance, and they perceived
that what they feared was upon them, they sought refuge in their
accustomed marshes. And our soldiers pursuing them with great animosity,
slew numbers of them, and gained a victory in a place where it had not
been supposed that any soldier could find a footing, much less do any
bold action.

19. After the Anicenses[87] had thus been routed and almost destroyed,
we proceeded at once to attack the Picenses, who are so called from the
regions which they inhabit, which border on one another; and these
tribes had fancied themselves the more secure from the disasters of
their allies, which they had heard of by frequent rumours. To crush them
(for it was an arduous task for those who did not know the country to
follow men scattered in many directions as they were) the aid of
Taifali[88] and of the free-born Sarmatians was sought.

20. And as the nature of the ground separated the auxiliary battalions
from each other, our own troops took the ground nearest Moesia, the
Taifali that nearest to their own settlements, while the free Sarmatians
occupied that in front of their original position.

21. The Limigantes, alarmed at the still fresh examples of nations
subdued and crushed by us, for a long time hesitated and wavered whether
they should attack us or ask for peace, having arguments of no small
weight for either line of conduct. But at last, through the influence of
the council of the elders, the idea of surrender prevailed; and the
submission also of those who had dared to attack their free-born masters
was added to our numerous victories; and the rest of them, who had
previously despised their masters, thinking them unwarlike and easily
subdued, now finding them stronger than themselves, submitted to them.

22. Accordingly, having received pledges of their safety, and having
quitted the defence of their mountains, the greater portion of them came
with speed to the Roman camp, and they spread over a vast extent of
ground, bringing with them their parents, their children, their wives,
and all the movable treasures which their rapid motions had allowed them
to carry off.

23. And those who it had been supposed would rather lose their lives
than quit their country, while they mistook their mad licentiousness for
liberty, now submitted to obey our orders, and to take up another abode
in peace and good faith, so as to be undisturbed for the future by wars
or seditions. And having been thus accepted as subjects, in accordance
with their own wish as it was believed, they remained quiet for a time;
but afterwards they broke out in destructive wickedness, as shall be
related at the proper time.

24. While our affairs were thus prospering, Illyricum was put in a
state of twofold security, since the emperor, in endeavouring by two
means to accomplish this object, succeeded in both. He brought back and
established in their ancient homes the people who had been banished,
whom, although they were objects of suspicion from their natural
fickleness, he believed would go on more moderately than of old. And to
crown this kindness, he set over them as a king, not one of low birth,
but the very man whom they themselves had formerly chosen, as eminent
for all the virtues of mind and body.

25. After such a wise action, Constantius, being now raised above all
fear, and having received from the unanimous consent of his soldiers the
title of Sarmaticus, from the name of the nation which he had subdued;
and being now about to leave the army, summoned all his cohorts and
centuries and maniples, and mounting the tribune, surrounded by the
standards and eagles, and by a great number of soldiers of all ranks, he
addressed the troops in these words, choosing his topics as usual so as
to gain the favour of all.

26. "The recollection of our glorious exploits, the dearest of all
feelings to brave men, encourages me to repeat, though with great
moderation, what, in our heaven-granted victories, and before battle,
and in the very heat of the strife, we, the most faithful champions of
the Roman state, have conducted to a deservedly prosperous issue. For
what can be so honourable or so justly worthy to be handed down to the
recollection of posterity as the exultation of the soldier in his brave
deeds, and of the general in his wise plans?

27. "The rage of our enemies, in their arrogant pride thinking to profit
by our absence, while we were protecting Italy and Gaul, was overrunning
Illyricum, and with continual sallies they were ravaging even the
districts beyond our frontiers; crossing the rivers, sometimes in boats
made of hollow trees, sometimes on foot; not relying on combats, nor on
their arms and strength, but being accustomed to secret forays, and
having been from the very earliest era of their nation an object of fear
to our ancestors, from their cunning and the variety of their
manoeuvres, which we indeed, being at a great distance, bore as long
as we could, thinking that the vigour of our generals would be able to
protect us from even slight injury.

28. "But when their licentiousness led them on to bolder attempts, and
to inflict great and frequent injury on our provinces, we, having first
fortified the passes of the Tyrol, and having secured the safety of the
Gauls by watchful care, leaving no danger behind us, have marched into
Pannonia, in order, with the favour of the everlasting deity, to
strengthen our tottering interests in that country. And after everything
was prepared, we set forth, as you know, at the end of the spring, and
undertook a great enterprise; first of all taking care that the
countless darts of the enemy should not prevent us from making a bridge.
And when, with no great trouble, this had been accomplished, after we
had set our foot upon the enemy's territories, we defeated, with very
little loss to ourselves, the Sarmatians, who with obstinate courage set
themselves to resist us to the death. And we also crushed the Quadi, who
were bringing reinforcements to the Sarmatians, and who with similar
courage attacked our noble legions.

29. "These tribes, after heavy losses sustained in their attacks, and
their stubborn and toilsome resistance, have at length learnt the power
of our valour, and throwing away their arms, have allowed their hands,
prepared for fighting, to be bound behind their backs; and seeing that
their only hope of safety is in prayer, have fallen at the feet of your
merciful emperor, whose wars they found are usually successful. Having
got rid of these enemies, we with equal courage defeated the Limigantes,
and after we had put numbers of them to the sword, the rest found their
only means of escaping danger lay in fleeing to their hiding-places in
the marshes.

30. "And when these things were successfully terminated, it seemed to be
a seasonable opportunity for mercy. So we compelled the Limigantes to
remove to very distant lands, that they might not be able any more to
move to our injury; and we spared the greatest part of them. And we made
Zizais king over the free-born portion of them, sure that he would be
faithful to us, and thinking it more honour to create a king for the
barbarians than to take one from them, the dignity being increased by
this honourable consideration, that the ruler whom we thus gave them had
before been elected and accepted by them.

31. "So we and the republic have in one campaign obtained a fourfold
reward: first, vengeance on our guilty assailants; next, abundance of
captive slaves from the enemy, for valour is entitled to those rewards
which it has earned with its toil and prowess.

32. "Thirdly, we have ample resources and great treasures of wealth; our
labour and courage having preserved the patrimony of each of us
undiminished. This, in the mind of a good sovereign, is the best fruit
of prosperity.

33. "Lastly, I myself have the well-won spoil of a surname derived from
the enemy--the title of Sarmaticus--which you unanimously have (if I may
say so without arrogance) deservedly conferred on me."

34. After he had made an end of speaking, the whole assembly, with more
alacrity than usual, since its hope of booty and gain was increased,
rose up with joyful voices in praise of the emperor; and, as usual,
calling God to witness that Constantius was invincible, returned with
joy to their tents. And the emperor was conducted back to his palace,
and having rested two days, re-entered Sirmium with a triumphal
procession; and the troops returned to their appointed stations.


§ 1. About this time Prosper and Spectatus and Eustathius, who, as has
been mentioned above, had been sent as ambassadors to the Persians,
found the Persian king at Ctesiphon, on his return from his campaign,
and they delivered the emperor's letters and presents, and requested
peace while affairs were still in their existing state. And mindful of
what had been enjoined them, they never forgot the interests nor the
dignity of the Roman empire, maintaining that the peace ought to be made
on the condition that no alteration should be made in the state of
Armenia or Mesopotamia.

2. And having remained for some time, when they saw that the king was
obstinate, and resolute not to admit of peace unless the absolute
dominion of those regions was assigned to him, they returned without
having completed their business.

3. After which, Lucillianus, a count, and Procopius, at that time
secretary, were sent to obtain the same conditions, with equal powers.
Procopius being the same man who afterwards, under the pressure of
violent necessity, committed himself to a revolutionary movement.

[70] Ἐνοίχθωη, Σεισίχθων, Ἐννοσίγδαιος,
from ἐνίθω and σείω, to shake, and χθὰν
and γαῖα, the earth.

[71] From βραζω, to boil over.

[72] Strabo gives Ophiusa as one of the names of Rhodes, and Homer
mentions the golden shower:--

  καί σφιν Θεσπέσιον πλοῦτου κατέχευε κρονιὼν.--Il. β. vi. 70.

As also does Pindar, Ol. vii. 63.

[73] From κλίνω, to lay down.

[74] From χάσμα, a chasm, derived from χαίνω, to

[75] This is a tale told by Plato in the Timæus (which is believed to
have no foundation).

[76] The destruction of Helice is related in Diodorus Sic. xiv. 48; cf.
Ov. Met. xv. 290.

[77] The lake Ciminus was near Centumcellæ, cf. Virg. Æn. vii. 697. The
town of Saccumum is not mentioned by any other writer.

[78] From μυκάω, to roar like a bull.

[79] Toxandria was in Belgium, on the Scheldt.

[80] The Chamavi were a tribe at the mouth of the Rhine.

[81] Tages was an Etruscan, the son, it is said, of a genius, Jovialis,
and grandson of Jupiter, who rose out of the ground as a man named
Tarchon was ploughing near Tarquinii, and instructed the auspices in
divination. Cf. Cic. Div. ii. 23.

[82] Carthage and Numantia.

[83] The Quadi occupied a part of Hungary.

[84] The Victohali were a tribe of Goths.

[85] Szoeni, called by Ammianus Bregetio, is near Cormorn.

[86] The Theiss.

[87] The Anicenses and Picenses were Dacian tribes.

[88] The Taifali were a tribe of the Western Goths.



     I. The Cæsar Julian consults the welfare of the Gauls, and provides
     for the general observance of justice.--II. He repairs the walls of
     the castles on the Rhine which he had recovered; crosses the Rhine,
     and having conquered those of the Alemanni who remained hostile, he
     compels their kings to sue for peace, and to restore their
     prisoners.--III. Why Barbatio, the commander of the infantry, and
     his wife, were beheaded by command of Constantius.--IV. Sapor, king
     of Persia, prepares to attack the Romans with all his power.--V.
     Antoninus, the protector, deserts to Sapor, with all his men; and
     increases his eagerness to engage in war with the Romans.--VI.
     Ursicinus, the commander of the legions, being summoned from the
     East, when he had reached Thrace was sent back to Mesopotamia, and
     having arrived there he hears from Marcellinus of Sapor's
     approach.--VII. Sapor, with the kings of the Chionitæ and Albani,
     invades Mesopotamia--The Romans of their own accord lay waste their
     lands with fire; compelled the countrymen to come into the towns,
     and fortify the western bank of the Euphrates with castles and
     garrisons.--VIII. Seven hundred Illyrian cavalry are surprised by
     the Persians, and put to flight--Ursicinus escapes in one
     direction, and Marcellinus in another.--IX. A description of Amida;
     and how many legions and squadrons were there in garrison.--X.
     Sapor receives the surrender of two Roman fortresses.


A.D. 359.

§ 1. These events took place in the different parts of the world in one
and the same year. But while the affairs in Gaul were in a better state;
and while titles of consul were ennobling the brothers Eusebius and
Hypatius, Julian, illustrious for his uninterrupted successes, now in
his winter quarters, being relieved for a while from his warlike
anxieties, was devoting equal care to many points connected with the
welfare of the provinces. Taking anxious care that no one should be
oppressed by the burden of taxation; that the power of the officers
should not be stretched into extortion; that those who increase their
property by the public distresses, should have no sanction, and that no
judge should violate justice with impunity.

2. And he found it easy to correct what was wrong on this head, because
he himself decided all causes in which the persons concerned were of any
great importance; and showed himself a most impartial discerner of right
and wrong.

3. And although there are many acts of his in deciding these disputes
worthy of praise, it will be sufficient to mention one, on the model of
which all his other words and actions were framed.

4. Numerius, a native of Narbonne, had a little time before been accused
before the governor as a thief, and Julian, by an unusual exercise of
the censor's power, heard his cause in public; admitting into the court
all who sought entrance. And when Numerius denied all that was charged
against him, and could not be convicted on any point, Delphidius the
orator, who was assailing him with great bitterness, being enraged at
the failure of his charges, exclaimed, "But, great Cæsar, will any one
ever be found guilty if it be enough to deny the charge?" To whom
Julian, with seasonable wisdom, replied, "Can any one be judged innocent
if it be enough to make a charge?" And he did many similar actions in
his civil capacity.


§ 1. But when he was about to set out on an important expedition against
some tribes of the Allemanni whom he considered hostile, and likely to
proceed to acts of atrocious daring if they were not defeated in a way
to be an example to the rest, he hesitated in great anxiety, since a
report of his intentions had gone before him, what force he could
employ, and how he could be quick enough to take them by surprise the
first moment that circumstances should afford him an opportunity.

2. But after he had meditated on many different plans, he decided on
trying one, which the result proved to be good without any one being
aware of it. He had sent Hariobaudes, a tribune who at that time had no
particular command, a man of honour, loyalty, and courage, under pretext
of an embassy, to Hortarius the king who was now in a state of
friendship with us; in order that from his court Hariobaudes might
easily proceed to the frontiers of the enemy whom he was proposing to
attack; and so ascertain what they were about, being thoroughly skilled
in the language of the barbarians.

3. And when he had gone boldly on this commission, Julian himself, as it
was now a favourable time of the year, assembled his soldiers from all
quarters for the expedition, and set out; thinking it above all things
desirable, before the war had got warm, to effect his entrance into the
cities which had been destroyed some time before, and having recovered
them to put them in a state of defence; and also to establish granaries
in the place of those which had been burnt, in which to store the corn
usually imported from Britain.

4. Both these objects were accomplished, and that more speedily than
could have been looked for. For the store-houses were rapidly built, and
abundance of provisions laid up in them; and seven cities were occupied.
The camp of Hercules, Quadriburgium,[89] Kellen, Nuys, Bonn, Andernach,
and Bingen. At which last city, by exceedingly good fortune, Florentius
the prefect also arrived unexpectedly, bringing with him a division of
soldiers, and a supply of provisions sufficient to last a long time.

5. After this, the next measure of urgent necessity was to repair the
walls of the recovered cities, while as yet no one raised any hindrance;
and it is abundantly plain that at that time the barbarians did out of
fear what was commanded them for the public interests, while the Romans
did it for love of their ruler.

6. According to the treaty made in the preceding year, the kings sent
their own waggons with many articles useful for building. And the
auxiliary soldiers who always hold themselves above employments of this
kind being won over by Julian's caresses to diligent obedience, now
carried beams fifty feet long and more on their shoulders, and gave the
greatest aid to the labours of the architect.

7. And while all this was being done with diligence and speed,
Hariobaudes, having learnt all he wanted, returned and related what he
had ascertained. And after his arrival the army marched with all speed,
and soon reached Mayence, where, though Florentius and Lupicinus, who
succeeded Severus, insisted vehemently that they might cross by the
bridge laid down at that town, the Cæsar strenuously objected,
maintaining that it was not well to trample on the lands of those who
were brought into a state of tranquillity and friendship; lest the
treaty made with them should be brought to an abrupt end, as had often
happened through the discourtesy of the soldiers ravaging everything
that came in their way.

8. But all the Allemanni who were the objects of our attack, seeing the
danger now on their borders, with many threats urged Surmarius their
king, who by a previous treaty was on friendly terms with us, to prevent
the Romans from crossing the river. For their villages were on the
eastern bank of the Rhine. But when Surmarius affirmed that he by
himself was unable to offer effectual resistance, the barbarian host
assembled in a body, and came up to Mayence, intending by main force to
prevent our army from crossing the river.

9. So that Cæsar's advice now seemed best in two points, both not to
ravage the lands of our friends; and also, not in the teeth of the
opposition of a most warlike people, to risk the loss of many lives in
order to make a bridge, even in a spot the most favourable for such a

10. And the enemy, watching his movements with great skill, marched
slowly along the opposite bank, and when they saw our men pitching their
tents at a distance, they still watched all night, exerting the most
sleepless vigilance to prevent the passage of the river from being

11. But when our men reached the spot intended, they surrounded their
camp with a rampart and ditch, and took their rest; and the Cæsar,
having taken counsel with Lupicinus, ordered some of the tribunes to get
ready three hundred light-armed soldiers with stakes, without letting
them know what was to be done, or whither they were going.

12. They being collected, when the night was well advanced, and being
all embarked on board of forty light boats, which were all that were at
hand, were ordered to go down the stream so silently as not to use even
their oars, lest the noise should rouse the barbarians, and then using
all activity both of mind and body, to force a landing on the opposite
bank, within the frontier of the enemy, while they were still watching
the camp-fires of our men.

13. While these orders were being performed with great promptness, King
Hortarius, who had been previously bound to us by treaties, and was
without any intention of revolting, kept on friendly terms with the
bordering tribes, having invited all their kings, princes, and
chieftains to a banquet, detained them to the third watch, the banquet
being prolonged so late according to the custom of his nation. And as
they were departing, our men chanced to come upon them suddenly, but
could neither stay nor capture any of them owing to the darkness of the
night and the fleetness of their horses, on which they fled at random in
all directions. A number of sutlers and slaves, however, who were
following them on foot, our men slew; the few who escaped being likewise
protected by the darkness of the hour.

14. When it became known that the Romans had crossed the river (and they
then as well as in all former expeditions accounted it a great relief to
their labours when they could find the enemy), the kings and their
people, who were watching zealously to prevent the bridge from being
made, were alarmed, and being panic-stricken fled in all directions, and
their violent fury being thus cooled, they hastened to remove their
relations and their treasures to a distance. And as all difficulties
were now surmounted, the bridge was at once made, and before the
barbarians could expect it, the Roman army appeared in their
territories, and passed through the dominions of Hortarius without doing
any injury.

15. But when they reached the lands of those kings who were still
hostile, they went on invincibly through the midst of their rebellious
country, laying waste with fire and sword, and plundering everything.
And after their frail houses were destroyed by fire, and a vast number
of men had been slain, and the army, having nothing to face but corpses
and suppliants, had arrived in the region called Capellatum, or Palas,
where there are boundary stones marking the frontiers of the Allemanni
and the Burgundians; the army pitched its camp, in order that Macrianus
and Hariobaudus, brothers, and both kings, might be received by us, and
delivered from their fears. Since they, thinking their destruction
imminent, were coming with great anxiety to sue for peace.

16. And immediately after them King Vadomarius also came, whose abode
was opposite Augst: and having produced some letters of the Emperor
Constantius, in which he was strictly recommended to the protection of
the Romans, he was courteously received, as became one who had been
admitted by the emperor as a client of the Roman empire.

17. And Macrianus and his brother, being admitted among our eagles and
standards, marvelled at the imposing appearance of our arms, and various
resources which they had never seen before. And they offered up
petitions on behalf of their people. But Vadomarius, who had met us
before, since he was close to our frontier, admired indeed the
appointments of our daring expedition, but remembered that he had often
seen such before, ever since his childhood.

18. At last, after long deliberation, with the unanimous consent of all,
peace was granted to Macrianus and Hariobaudus; but an answer could not
be given to Vadomarius, who had come to secure his own safety, and also
as an ambassador to intercede for the kings Urius, Ursicinus, and
Vestralpus, imploring peace for them also; lest, as the barbarians are
men of wavering faith, they might recover their spirits when our army
was withdrawn, and refuse adherence to conditions procured by the agency
of others.

19. But when they also, after their crops and houses had been burnt, and
many of their soldiers had been slain or taken prisoners, sent
ambassadors of their own, and sued for mercy as if they had been guilty
of similar violence to our subjects, they obtained peace on similar
terms; of which that most rigorously insisted on was that they should
restore all the prisoners which they had taken in their frequent


§ 1. While the god-like wisdom of the Cæsar was thus successful in Gaul,
great disturbances arose in the court of the emperor, which from slight
beginnings increased to grief and lamentations. Some bees swarmed on the
house of Barbatio, at that time the commander of the infantry. And when
he consulted the interpreters of prodigies on this event, he received
for an answer, that it was an omen of great danger; the answer being
founded on the idea that these animals, after they have fixed their
abode, and laid up their stores, are usually expelled by smoke and the
noisy din of cymbals.

2. Barbatio's wife was a woman called Assyria, neither silent nor
prudent. And when he had gone on an expedition which caused her much
alarm, she, because of the predictions which she recollected to have
been given her, and being full of female vanity, having summoned a
handmaid who was skilful in writing, and of whom she had become
possessed by inheritance from her father Silvanus, sent an unseasonable
letter to her husband, full of lamentations, and of entreaties that
after the approaching death of Constantius, if he himself, as she hoped,
was admitted to a share in the empire, he would not despise her, and
prefer to marry Eusebia, who was Constantius's empress, and who was of a
beauty equalled by few women.

3. She sent this letter as secretly as she could; but the maid, when the
troops had returned from their expedition at the beginning of the night,
took a copy of the letter which she had written at the dictation of her
mistress, to Arbetio, and being eagerly admitted by him, she gave him
the paper.

4. He, relying on this evidence, being at all times a man eager to bring
forward accusations, conveyed it to the emperor. As was usual, no delay
was allowed, and Barbatio, who confessed that he had received the
letter, and his wife, who was distinctly proved to have written it, were
both beheaded.

5. After this execution, investigations were carried further, and many
persons, innocent as well as guilty, were brought into question. Among
whom was Valentinus, who having lately been an officer of the
protectores, had been promoted to be a tribune; and he with many others
was put to the torture as having been privy to the affair, though he was
wholly ignorant of it. But he survived his sufferings; and as some
compensation for the injury done to him, and for his danger, he received
the rank of duke of Illyricum.

6. This same Barbatio was a man of rude and arrogant manners, and very
unpopular, because while captain of the protectores of the household, in
the time of Gallus Cæsar, he was a false and treacherous man; and after
he had attained the higher rank he became so elated that he invented
calumnies against the Cæsar Julian, and, though all good men hated him,
whispered many wicked lies into the ever-ready ears of the emperor.

7. Being forsooth ignorant of the wise old saying of Aristotle, who when
he sent Callisthenes, his pupil and relation, to the king Alexander,
warned him to say as little as he could, and that only of a pleasant
kind, before a man who carried the power of life and death on the tip of
his tongue.

8. We should not wonder that mankind, whose minds we look upon as akin
to those of the gods, can sometimes discern what is likely to be
beneficial or hurtful to them, when even animals devoid of reason
sometimes secure their own safety by profound silence, of which the
following is a notorious instance:--

9. When the wild geese leave the East because of the heat, and seek a
western climate, as soon as they reach Mount Taurus, which is full of
eagles, fearing those warlike birds, they stop up their own beaks with
stones, that not even the hardest necessity may draw a cry from them;
they fly more rapidly than usual across that range, and when they have
passed it they throw away the stones, and then proceed more securely.


§ 1. While these investigations were being carried on with great
diligence at Sirmium, the fortune of the East sounded the terrible
trumpet of danger. For the king of Persia, being strengthened by the aid
of the fierce nations whom he had lately subdued, and being above all
men ambitious of extending his territories, began to prepare men and
arms and supplies, mingling hellish wisdom with his human counsels, and
consulting all kinds of soothsayers about futurity. And when he had
collected everything, he proposed to invade our territories at the first
opening of the spring.

2. And when the emperor learnt this, at first by report, but
subsequently by certain intelligence, and while all were in suspense
from dread of the impending danger, the dependents of the court,
hammering on the same anvil day and night (as the saying is), at the
prompting of the eunuchs, held up Ursicinus as a Gorgon's head before
the suspicious and timid emperor, continually repeating that, because on
the death of Silvanus, in a dearth of better men, he had been sent to
defend the eastern districts, he had become ambitious of still greater

3. And by this base compliance many tried to purchase the favour of
Eusebius, at that time the principal chamberlain, with whom (if we are
to say the real truth) Constantius had great influence, and who was now
a bitter enemy of the safety of the master of the horse, Ursicinus, on
two accounts; first, because he was the only person who did not need his
assistance, as others did; and secondly, because he would not give up
his house at Antioch, which Eusebius greatly coveted.

4. So this latter, like a snake abounding in poison, and exciting its
offspring as soon as they can crawl to do mischief, stirred up the other
chamberlains, that they, while performing their more private duties
about the prince's person, with their thin and boyish voices, might
damage the reputation of a brave man by pouring into the too open ears
of the emperor accusations of great odium. And they soon did what they
were commanded.

5. Disgust at this and similar events leads one to praise Domitian, who
although, by the unalterable detestation he incurred, has ever stained
the memory of his father and his brother,[90] still deserved credit for
a most excellent law, by which he forbade with severe threats any one to
castrate any boy within the limits of the Roman jurisdiction. For if
there were no such edict, who could endure the swarms of such creatures
as would exist, when it is so difficult to bear even a few of them?

6. However, they proceeded with caution, lest, as Eusebius suggested, if
Ursicinus were again sent for, he should take alarm and throw everything
into confusion; but it was proposed that on the first casual opportunity
he should be put to death.

7. While they were waiting for this chance, and full of doubt and
anxiety; and while we[91] were tarrying a short time at Samosata, the
greatest city of what had formerly been the kingdom of Commagene, we
suddenly received frequent and consistent reports of some new
commotions, which I will now proceed to relate.


§ 1. A certain man named Antoninus, who from having been a wealthy
merchant had become superintendent of the accounts of the duke of
Mesopotamia, and after that entered the corps of the protectores, a man
of experience and wisdom, and very well known in all that country. Being
through the avarice of certain persons involved in heavy losses, and
perceiving that while defending actions against men of influence he was
being sunk lower and lower through injustice, since the judges who had
to decide on his affairs sought to gratify people in power, he, not
wishing to kick against the pricks, bent himself to obsequious caresses;
and confessing that he owed what was claimed of him, the claim, by
collusion, was transferred to the treasury. He now, having resolved on a
flagitious plan, began secretly to look into the secrets of the whole
republic; and being acquainted with both languages, he devoted his
attention to the accounts; remarking the amount, quality, and situation
of the different divisions of the army, and the employment of them on
any expeditions; inquiring also with unwearied diligence into the extent
of the supplies of arms and provisions, and other things likely to be
needful in war.

2. And when he had made himself acquainted with all the internal
circumstances of the East, and had learnt that a great portion of the
troops and of the money for their pay was distributed in Illyricum,
where the emperor himself was detained by serious business; as the day
was now approaching which had been fixed for the payment of the money
for which he had been constrained by fear to give an acknowledgment of
his bond; and as he saw that he must be overwhelmed by disasters on all
sides, since the chief treasurer was devoted to the interests of his
adversary; he conceived the audacious design of crossing over to the
Persians with his wife and children, and his whole numerous family of

3. And to elude the observation of the soldiers at their different
stations, he bought for a small price a farm in Hiaspis, a district on
the banks of the Tigris. And, relying on this pretext, since no one
would venture to ask why a landed proprietor should go to the extreme
frontier of the Roman territory, as many others did the same, by the
agency of some trusty friends who were skilful swimmers, he carried on
frequent secret negotiations with Tamsapor, who was at that time
governing the country on the other side of the river with the rank of
duke, and with whom he was already acquainted. And at last, having
received from the Persian camp an escort of well-mounted men, he
embarked in some boats, and crossed over at night with all his family,
in the same manner as Zopyrus, the betrayer of Babylon, had formerly
done, only with an opposite object.

4. While affairs in Mesopotamia were in this state, the hangers-on of
the palace, always singing the same song for our destruction, at last
found a handle to injure the gallant Ursicinus; the gang of eunuchs
being still the contrivers and promoters of the plot; since they are
always sour tempered and savage, and having no relations, cling to
riches as their dearest kindred.

5. The design now adopted was to send Sabinianus, a withered old man of
great wealth, but infirm and timid, and from the lowness of his birth
far removed from any office of command, to govern the districts of the
East; while Ursicinus should be recalled to court, to command the
infantry, as successor to Barbatio. And then he, this greedy promoter of
revolution, as they called him, being within their reach, could easily
be attacked by his bitter and formidable enemies.

6. While these things were going on in the camp of Constantius, as at a
festival or a theatre, and while the dispensers of rank which was bought
and sold were distributing the price agreed upon among the influential
houses, Antoninus, having reached Sapor's winter quarters, was received
with gladness; and being ennobled by the grant of a turban, an honour
which gives admission to the royal table, and also that of assisting at
and delivering one's opinion in the councils of the Persians, went
onwards, not with a punt pole or a tar rope, as the proverb is (that is
to say, not by any tedious or circuitous path), but with flowing sails
into the conduct of state affairs, and stirring up Sapor, as formerly
Maharbal roused the sluggish Hannibal, was always telling him that he
knew how to conquer, but not how to use a victory.

7. For having been bred up in active life, and being a thorough man of
business, he got possession of the feelings of his hearers, who like
what tickles their ears, and who do not utter their praises aloud, but,
like the Phæacians in Homer, admire in silence,[92] while he recounted
the events of the last forty years; urging that, after all these
continual wars, and especially the battles of Hileia and Singara,[93]
where that fierce combat by night took place, in which we lost a vast
number of our men, as if some fecial had interposed to stop them, the
Persians, though victorious, had never advanced as far as Edessa or the
bridges over the Euphrates. Though with their warlike power and
splendid success, they might have pushed their advances especially at
that moment, when in consequence of the protracted troubles of their
civil wars the blood of the Romans was being poured out on all sides.

8. By these and similar speeches the deserter, preserving his sobriety
at the banquets, where, after the fashion of the ancient Greeks, the
Persians deliberate on war and other important affairs, stimulated the
fiery monarch, and persuaded him to rely upon the greatness of his
fortune, and to take up arms the moment that the winter was over, and he
himself boldly promised his assistance in many important matters.


§ 1. About this time Sabinianus, being elated at the power which he had
suddenly acquired, and having arrived in Cilicia, gave his predecessor
letters from the emperor, desiring him to hasten to court to be invested
with higher dignities. In fact the affairs of Asia were in such a state
that, even if Ursicinus had been at Ultima Thule their urgency would
have required him to be summoned thence to set them right, since he was
a man of the ancient discipline, and from long experience especially
skilful in the Persian manner of conducting war.

2. But when the report of this reached the provinces, all ranks of the
citizens and agricultural population, by formal edicts and by unanimous
outcries, endeavoured to detain him, almost forcibly, as the public
defender of their country, remembering that though for ten years he had
been left to his own resources with a scanty and unwarlike force, he had
yet incurred no loss; and fearing for their safety if at so critical a
time he should be removed and a man of utter inactivity assume the rule
in his stead.

3. We believe, and indeed there is no doubt of it, that fame flies on
wings through the paths of the air; and she it was who now gave
information of these events to the Persians while deliberating on the
entire aspect of affairs. At last, after many arguments pro and con,
they determined, on the advice of Antoninus, that as Ursicinus was
removed, and as the new governor was contemptible, they might venture
to neglect laying siege to cities, an operation which would cause a
mischievous loss of time, and at once cross the Euphrates, and advance
further, in order, outstripping all rumour of their march, to occupy
those provinces which, throughout all our wars, had always been safe
(except in the time of Gallienus), and which, from their long enjoyment
of peace, were very wealthy. And in this enterprise, with the favour of
God, Antoninus offered himself as a most desirable guide.

4. His advice, therefore, being unanimously praised and adopted, and the
attention of the whole nation being directed to the speedy collection of
those things which were required, supplies, soldiers, arms, and
equipments, the preparation of everything for the coming campaign was
continued the whole winter.

5. In the mean time, we, hastening at the emperor's command towards
Italy, after having been detained a short time on the western side of
Mount Taurus, reached the river Hebrus, which descends from the
mountains of the Odrysæ[94], and there we received letters from the
emperor, ordering us, without the least delay, to return to Mesopotamia,
without any officers, and having, indeed, no important duty to
discharge, since all the power had been transferred to another.

6. And this had been arranged by those mischievous meddlers in the
government, in order that if the Persians failed and returned to their
own country, our success might be attributed to the valour of the new
governor; while, if our affairs turned out ill, Ursicinus might be
impeached as a traitor to the republic.

7. Accordingly we, being tossed about without any reason, after much
time had been lost, returned, and found Sabinianus, a man full of pride,
of small stature, and of a petty and narrow mind, scarcely able without
fear to encounter the slight noise of a beast, much less to face the
crash of battle.

8. Nevertheless, since our spies brought positive and consistent
intelligence that all kind of preparations were going on among the
enemy, and since their report was confirmed by that of the deserters,
while this manikin was in a state of perplexity, we hastened to Nisibis
to make such preparation as seemed requisite, lest the Persians, while
concealing their intention to besiege it, should come upon it by

9. And while all things necessary were being pressed forward within the
walls, continued fires and columns of smoke being seen on the other side
of the Tigris, near the town called the Camp of the Moors, and Sisara,
and the other districts on the Persian frontier, and spreading up to the
city itself, showed that the predatory bands of the enemy had crossed
the river, and entered our territories.

10. And therefore we hastened forwards with a forced march, to prevent
the roads from being occupied; and when we had advanced two miles, we
saw a fine boy of about eight years old, as we guessed, wearing a
necklace, of noble appearance, standing on the top of a small hillock,
and crying out, stating himself to be the son of a man of noble birth,
whom his mother, while fleeing in her alarm at the approach of the
enemy, had left in her panic in order to be less encumbered. We pitied
him, and at the command of our general, I put him on my horse, in front
of me, and took him back to the city, while the predatory bands of the
enemy, having blockaded the city, were ravaging all around.

11. And because I was alarmed at the difficulties in which we should be
placed by a blockade, I put the child in at a half open postern gate,
and hastened back with all speed to my troop. And I was very nearly
taken prisoner; for a tribune named Abdigidus, accompanied by a groom,
was fleeing, pursued by a squadron of cavalry, and though the master
escaped the servant was taken. And as I was passing by rapidly, they,
examining the servant, inquired of him who was the chief who had
advanced against them; and when they heard that Ursicinus had a little
while before entered the city, and was on his way to Mount Izala, they
put their informant to death, and then, forming into one body, pursued
us with ceaseless speed.

12. But I outstripped them by the speed of my horse, and finding my
comrades reposing securely under the walls of a slight fort, called
Amudis, with their horses dispersed over the grass, I waved my hand, and
raising the hem of my cloak: by this usual signal I gave notice that
the enemy was at hand, and then joining them we retreated together,
though my horse was greatly fatigued.

13. Our alarm was increased by the brightness of the night, as the moon
was full, and by the even level of the plain, which, if our danger
should become worse, afforded no possible hiding-place, as having
neither trees, nor bushes, nor anything but low herbage.

14. Accordingly we adopted the following plan: we lit a lamp and
fastened it tightly on a horse, which we turned loose without a rider,
and let go where it pleased to our left, while we marched towards the
high ground on our right, in order that the Persians might fancy the
light a torch held before the general as he proceeded slowly forwards,
and so keep on in that direction. And unless we had adopted this
precaution we should have been circumvented, and have fallen as
prisoners into the power of the enemy.

15. Being delivered from this danger, when we had come to a woody spot,
full of vines and fruit-bearing trees, called Meiacarire, a name derived
from the cool springs found there, we found that the inhabitants had all
fled, and there was only a single soldier remaining behind, concealed in
a remote corner. And when he was brought before our general, and through
fear told all kinds of different stories, and so became an object of
suspicion; at last, under the compulsion of our threats, he told the
real truth, that he was a native of Gaul, and had been born among the
Parisii, that he had served in our cavalry, but that fearing punishment
for some offence he had deserted to the Persians; that he had since
married a wife of excellent character, and had a family, and that having
been frequently sent as a spy to our camp, he had always brought the
Persians true intelligence. And now he said he had been sent by the
nobles Tamsapor and Nohodares, who were in command of the predatory
bands, to bring them such intelligence as he could collect. After
telling us this, and also that he knew of the operations of the enemy,
he was put to death.

16. Afterwards, as our anxiety increased, we proceeded from thence with
as much speed as we could make to Amida, a city celebrated at a later
period for the disaster which befel it. And when our scouts had rejoined
us there we found in one of their scabbards a scrap of parchment
written in cipher, which they had been ordered to convey to us by
Procopius, whom I have already spoken of as ambassador to the Persians
with the Count Lucillianus; its terms were purposely obscure, lest if
the bearers should be taken prisoners, and the sense of the writing
understood, materials should be found for fatal mischief.

17. The purport was, "The ambassadors of the Greeks, having been
rejected, and being perhaps to be put to death, the aged king, not
contented with the Hellespont, will throw bridges over the Granicus and
the Rhyndacus, and invade Asia Minor with a numerous host, being by his
own natural disposition irritable and fierce; and being now prompted and
inflamed by him who was formerly the successor of the Roman emperor
Hadrian,[95] it is all over with the Greeks if they do not take care."

18. The meaning of this was that the Persian king, having crossed the
rivers Anzaba and Tigris, at the prompting of Antoninus was aiming at
the sovereignty of the entire East. When it had been interpreted with
difficulty, from its great obscurity, a wise plan was decided on.

19. The satrap of Corduena, a province under the authority of the
Persians, was a man named Jovinianus, who had grown up to manhood in the
Roman territories, and was secretly friendly to us, because he had been
detained as a hostage in Syria, and being now allured by the love of
liberal studies, he was exceedingly desirous to return among us.

20. To this man I, being sent with a faithful centurion, for the purpose
of learning with greater certainty what was being done, reached him by
travelling over pathless mountains, and dangerous defiles. And when he
saw and recognized me, he received me courteously, and I avowed to him
alone the reason of my coming; and having received from him a silent
guide, well acquainted with the country, I was sent to some lofty rocks
at a distance, from which, if one's eyes did not fail, one could see
even the most minute object fifty miles off.

21. There we remained two whole days; and on the morning of the third
day we saw all the circuit of the earth, which we call the horizon,
filled with countless hosts of men, and the king marching before them
glittering with the brilliancy of his robes. And next to him on his left
hand marched Grumbates, king of the Chionitæ, a man of middle age, and
wrinkled limbs, but of a grand spirit, and already distinguished for
many victories. On his right hand was the king of the Albani, of equal
rank and splendour. After them came various generals, renowned for their
rank and power, who were followed by a multitude of all classes, picked
from the flower of the neighbouring nations, and trained by long
hardship to endure any toil or danger.

22. How long, O mendacious Greece, wilt thou tell us of Doriscus,[96]
the Thracian town, and of the army counted there in battalions in a
fenced space, when we careful, or to speak more truly, cautious
historians, exaggerate nothing, and merely record what is established by
evidence neither doubtful nor uncertain!


§ 1. After the kings had passed by Nineveh, an important city of the
province of Adiabene, they offered a sacrifice in the middle of the
bridge over the Anzaba, and as the omens were favourable, they advanced
with great joy; while we, calculating that the rest of their host could
hardly pass over in three days, returned with speed to the satrap, and
rested, refreshing ourselves by his hospitable kindness.

2. And returning from thence through a deserted and solitary country,
under the pressure of great necessity, and reaching our army more
rapidly than could have been expected, we brought to those who were
hesitating the certain intelligence that the kings had crossed over the
river by a bridge of boats, and were marching straight towards us.

3. Without delay, therefore, horsemen with horses of picked speed were
sent to Cassianus, duke of Mesopotamia, and to Euphronius, at that time
the governor of the province, to compel the residents in the country to
retire with their families and all their flocks to a safer place; and
to quit at once the town of Carræ, which was defended by very slight
walls; and further, to burn all the standing crops, that the enemy might
get no supplies from the land.

4. And when these orders had been executed, as they were without delay,
and when the fire was kindled, the violence of the raging element so
completely destroyed all the corn,[97] which was just beginning to swell
and turn yellow, and all the young herbage, that from the Euphrates to
the Tigris nothing green was to be seen. And many wild beasts were
burnt, and especially lions, who infest these districts terribly, but
who are often destroyed or blinded in this manner.

5. They wander in countless droves among the beds of rushes on the banks
of the rivers of Mesopotamia, and in the jungles; and lie quiet all the
winter, which is very mild in that country. But when the warm weather
returns, as these regions are exposed to great heat, they are forced out
by the vapours, and by the size of the gnats, with swarms of which every
part of that country is filled. And these winged insects attack the
eyes, as being both moist and sparkling, sitting on and biting the
eyelids; the lions, unable to bear the torture, are either drowned in
the rivers, to which they flee for refuge, or else by frequent
scratchings tear their eyes out themselves with their claws, and then
become mad. And if this did not happen the whole of the East would be
overrun with beasts of this kind.

6. While the plains were thus being laid waste by fire, as I have
described, the tribunes, who were sent with a body of protectores,
fortified all the western bank of the Euphrates with castles and sharp
palisades and every kind of defence, fixing also large engines for
hurling missiles on those spots where the more tranquil condition of the
river made it likely that the enemy might attempt to cross.

7. While these things were being expeditiously done, Sabinianus, chosen
in the hurried moment of general danger as the fittest conductor of an
internecine war, was living luxuriously, according to his custom, at the
tombs of Edessa,[98] as if he had established peace with the dead, and
had nothing to fear: and he took especial pleasure in breaking the
silence of the place with the sounding measures of the martial
pyathicari, instead of the usual theatrical exhibitions; a fancy,
considering the place, pregnant with omens. Since these and similar
gloomy scenes foreshow future commotions, as we learn in the progress of
time, all good men ought to avoid them.

8. In the mean time, passing by Nisibis as of no importance, while the
conflagration increased through the dryness of the crops, the kings,
dreading a scarcity of food, marched through the grassy valleys at the
foot of the mountains.

9. When they had arrived at a small place called Bebase (from which
place to the town of Constantina, which is one hundred miles distant,
the whole country is an arid desert, except where a little water is
found in some wells), they hesitated for some time, doubting what to do;
and at last resolving to proceed in reliance on the endurance of their
men, they learnt from a trusty spy that the Euphrates was swollen by the
melting of the snow, and was now extensively inundating the adjacent
lands, and so could not possibly be forded.

10. Therefore they turned to see what opportunities chance might afford
them, being now cut off unexpectedly from the hope which they had
conceived. And in the present emergency a council was held, at which
Antoninus was requested to give his advice: and he counselled them to
direct their march to the right, so that by a longer circuit they might
reach the two strong forts of Barzala and Laudias, to which he could
guide them through a region fertile in everything, and still
undestroyed, since the march of the army was expected to be made in a
straight line. And the only river on their road was one small and
narrow, to be passed near its source, before it was increased by any
other streams, and easily fordable.

11. When they had heard this, they praised their adviser, and bidding
him lead the way, the whole army turned from its previously appointed
line, and followed his guidance.


§ 1. When our generals received intelligence of this from their spies,
we settled to march in haste to Samosata, in order to cross the river at
that point, and destroying the bridges at Zeugma and Capersana, to check
the invasion of the enemy if we could find a favourable chance for
attacking them.

2. But we met with a sad disaster, worthy to be buried in profound
silence. For two squadrons of cavalry, of about seven hundred men, who
had just been sent from Illyricum to Mesopotamia as a reinforcement, and
who were guarding the passes, becoming enervated and timid, and fearing
a surprise by night, withdrew from the public causeways in the evening,
a time above all others when they most required watching.

3. And when it was remarked that they were all sunk in wine and sleep,
about twenty thousand Persians, under the command of Tamsapor and
Nohodares, passed without any one perceiving them, and fully armed as
they were, concealed themselves behind the high ground in the
neighbourhood of Amida.

4. Presently, when (as has been said) we started before daybreak on our
march to Samosata, our advanced guard, on reaching a high spot which
commanded a more distant view, was suddenly alarmed by the glitter of
shining arms; and cried out in a hurried manner that the enemy were at
hand. Upon this the signal for battle was given, and we halted in a
solid column, never thinking of fleeing, since, indeed, those who would
have pursued us were in sight; nor to engage in battle with an enemy
superior to us in numbers, and especially in cavalry; but seeing the
necessity for caution in the danger of certain death which lay before

5. At last, when it seemed clear that a battle could not be avoided, and
while we were still hesitating what to do, some of our men rashly
advanced as skirmishers, and were slain. And then, as each side pressed
onwards, Antoninus, ambitiously marching in front of the enemy, was
recognized by Ursicinus, and addressed by him in a tone of reproach, and
called a traitor and a scoundrel; till at last, taking off the tiara
which he wore on his head as a badge of honour, he dismounted from his
horse, and bending down till his face nearly touched the ground, he
saluted the Roman general, calling him patron and master; and holding
his hands behind his back, which among the Assyrians is a gesture of
supplication, he said, "Pardon me, most noble count, who have been
driven to this guilt by necessity, not by my own will. My creditors, as
you know, drove me headlong into it: men whose avarice even your high
authority, which tried to support me in my distress, could not
overcome." Having said this, he withdrew without turning his back upon
him, but retiring backwards in a respectful manner, with his face
towards him.

6. And while this was taking place, which did not occupy above half an
hour, our second rank, which occupied the higher ground, cried out that
another body of cuirassiers appeared behind, and was coming on with
great speed.

7. And then, as is often the case at critical moments, doubting which
enemy we ought, or even could resist, and being pressed on all sides by
an overwhelming mass, we dispersed in every direction, each fleeing
where he could. And while every one was trying to extricate himself from
the danger, we were brought, without any order, face to face with the

8. And so struggling vigorously while giving up all desire of saving our
lives, we were driven back to the high banks of the Tigris. Some of our
men, driven into the water where it was shallow, locked their arms, and
so made a stand; others were carried off by the current and drowned;
some, still fighting with the enemy, met with various fortune, or,
panic-stricken at the numbers of the barbarians, sought the nearest
defiles of Mount Taurus. Among these was the general himself, who was
recognized and surrounded by a vast body of the enemy; but he escaped
with the tribune Aiadalthes and one groom, being saved by the swiftness
of his horse.

9. I myself was separated from my comrades, and while looking round to
see what to do, I met with one of the protectores named Verrinianus,
whose thigh was pierced through by an arrow, and while at his entreaty I
was trying to pull it out, I found myself surrounded on all sides by
Persians, some of whom had passed beyond me. I therefore hastened back
with all speed towards the city, which, being placed on high ground, is
only accessible by one very narrow path on the side on which we were
attacked; and that path is made narrower still by escarpments of the
rocks, and barriers built on purpose to make the approach more

10. Here we became mingled with the Persians, who were hastening with a
run, racing with us, to make themselves masters of the higher ground:
and till the dawn of the next day we stood without moving, so closely
packed, that the bodies of those who were slain were so propped up by
the mass that they could not find room to fall to the ground; and a
soldier in front of me, whose head was cloven asunder into equal
portions by a mighty sword-blow, still stood upright like a log, being
pressed upon all sides.

11. And although javelins were incessantly hurled from the battlements
by every kind of engine, yet we were protected from that danger by the
proximity of the walls. And at last I got in at the postern gate, which
I found thronged by a multitude of both sexes flocking in from the
neighbouring districts. For it happened by chance on these very days
that it was the time of a great annual fair which was held in the
suburbs, and which was visited by multitudes of the country people.

12. In the mean time all was in disorder with every kind of noise; some
bewailing those whom they had lost; others being mortally wounded; and
many calling on their different relations whom the crowd prevented them
from discovering.


§ 1. This city had formerly been a very small one, till Constantius
while Cæsar, at the same time that he built another town called
Antinopolis, surrounded Amida also with strong towers and stout walls,
that the people in the neighbourhood might have a safe place of refuge.
And he placed there a store of mural engines, making it formidable to
the enemy, as he wished it to be called by his own name.

2. On the southern side it is watered by the Tigris, which passes close
to it, making a kind of elbow: on the east it looks towards the plains
of Mesopotamia, on the north it is close to the river Nymphæus, and is
overshadowed by the chain of Mount Taurus, which separates the nations
on the other side of the Tigris from Armenia. On the west it borders on
the province of Gumathena, a fertile and well-cultivated district, in
which is a village known as Abarne, celebrated for the healing
properties of its hot springs. But in the very centre of Amida, under
the citadel, there rises a rich spring of water, drinkable indeed, but
often tainted with hot vapours.

3. In the garrison of this town, the fifth or Parthian legion was always
located with a considerable squadron of native cavalry. But at that time
six legions, by forced marches, had outstripped the Persian host in its
advance, and greatly strengthened the garrison: they were the Magnentian
and Decentian legions whom, after the end of the civil war, the emperor
had sent as mutinous and discontented to the East, since there the only
danger was from foreign wars: the tenth, and the thirteenth legion
called the Fretensian:[99] and two legions of light infantry called
præventores and superventores,[100] with Ælian, who was now a count. Of
these latter, when only new recruits, we have already[101] spoken, as
sallying out from Singara at the instigation of this same Ælian, then
only one of the guard, and slaying a great number of Persians whom they
had surprised in their sleep.

4. There was also the greater part of the force called companion
archers, being squadrons of cavalry so named, in which all the free-born
barbarians serve, and who are conspicuous among all others for the
splendour of their arms and for their prowess.


§ 1. While the first onset of the Persians was by its unexpected
vehemence throwing these troops into disorder, the king, with his native
and foreign troops, having after leaving Bebase turned his march to the
right, according to the advice of Antoninus, passed by Horre and
Meiacarire and Charcha, as if he meant also to pass by Amida. And when
he had come near the Roman forts, one of which is called Reman, and the
other Busan, he learnt from some deserters that many persons had removed
their treasures there for protection, trusting to their lofty and strong
walls; and it was also added that there was there, with a great many
valuables, a woman of exquisite beauty, the wife of a citizen of Nisibis
named Craugasius, of great consideration by birth, character, and
influence; with her little daughter.

2. Sapor, eager to seize what belonged to another, hastened on, and
attacked the castle with force; and the garrison, being seized with a
sudden panic at the variety of arms of the assailants, surrendered
themselves, and all who had fled to them for protection; and at the
first summons gave up the keys of the gates. Possession being taken, all
that was stored there was ransacked; women bewildered with fear were
dragged forth; and children clinging to their mothers were taught bitter
suffering at the very beginning of their infancy.

3. And when Sapor, by asking each whose wife she was, had found that of
Craugasius trembling with fear of violence, he allowed her to come in
safety to him, and when he saw her, veiled as she was with a black veil
to her lips, he kindly encouraged her with a promise that she should
recover her husband, and that her honour should be preserved inviolate.
For hearing that her husband was exceedingly devoted to her, he thought
that by this bribe he might win him over to betray Nisibis.

4. And he also extended his protection to other virgins who, according
to Christian rites, had been formally consecrated to the service of God,
ordering that they should be kept uninjured, and be allowed to perform
the offices of religion as they had been accustomed. Affecting clemency
for a time, in order that those who were alarmed at his former ferocity
and cruelty might now discard their fears, and come to him of their own
accord, learning from these recent examples that he tempered the
greatness of his success with humanity and courtesy.

[89] It is not known what towns are meant by Castra Herculis and

[90] Vespasian and Titus.

[91] Ammianus was still in attendance on Ursicinus.

[92] Homer, Od. xiii. I; translated by Pope--

  "He ceased, but left, so pleasing on their ear,
  His voice, that listening still they seemed to hear."

And imitated by Milton, Paradise Lost, ix. 1--

  "The angel ended, and in Adam's ear
  So pleasing left his voice that he awhile
  Thought him still speaking, still stood fixed to hear."

[93] The battle of Hileia took place A.D. 348; that of Singara three
years earlier.

[94] The Maritza, rising in Mount Hæmus, now the Balkan.

[95] Antoninus is meant, as Hadrian was succeeded by Antoninus Pius.

[96] Doriscus was the town where Xerxes reviewed and counted his army,
as is related by Herodotus, vii. 60.

[97] "Ammianus has marked the chronology of this year by three signs
which do not perfectly coincide with each other, or with the series of
the history:--1. The corn was ripe when Sapor invaded Mesopotamia, 'cum
jura stipulâ flavente turgerent'--a circumstance which, in the latitude
of Aleppo, would naturally refer us to the month of April or May. 2. The
progress of Sapor was checked by the overflowing of the Euphrates, which
generally happens in July and August. 3. When Sapor had taken Amida,
after a siege of seventy-three days, the autumn was far advanced.
'Autumno præcipiti hædorumque improbo sidere exorto.' To reconcile these
apparent contradictions, we must allow for some delay in the Persian
king, some inaccuracy in the historian, and some disorder in the
seasons."--Gibbon, cap. xix.; ed. Bohn, vol. ii. 320. "Clinton, F.R., i.
442, sees no such difficulty as Gibbon has here supposed; he makes Sapor
to have passed the Tigris in May, reached the Euphrates July 8th,
arrived before Amida July 27th, and stormed the place October
7th."--Editor of Bohn's ed.

[98] That is, in the suburbs of Edessa, as cemeteries in ancient times
were usually outside the walls of cities.

[99] It is not known what this name is derived from: some read
Fortensis, instead of Fretensis, and those who prefer this reading
derive it either from Fortis, brave; or from Fortia, a small town of
Asiatic Sarmatia.

[100] Præventores, or "going before;" superventores, "coming after," as
a reserve.

[101] In one of the earlier books which has been lost.



     I. Sapor, while exhorting the citizens of Amida to surrender, is
     assailed with arrows and javelins by the garrison--And when king
     Grumbates makes a similar attempt, his son is slain.--II. Amida is
     blockaded, and within two days is twice assaulted by the
     Persians.--III. Ursicinus makes a vain proposal to sally out by
     night, and surprise the besiegers, being resisted by Sabinianus,
     the commander of the forces.--IV. A pestilence, which breaks out in
     Amida, is checked within ten days by a little rain--A discussion of
     the causes, and different kinds of pestilences.--V. Amida, betrayed
     by a deserter, is assailed both by assaults on the walls and by
     underground mines.--VI. A sally of the Gallic legions does great
     harm to the Persians.--VII. Towers and other engines are brought
     close to the walls of the city, but they are burnt by the
     Romans.--VIII. Attempts are made to raise lofty mounds close to the
     walls of Amida, and by these means it is entered--After the fall of
     the city, Marcellinus escapes by night, and flees to Antioch.--IX.
     Of the Roman generals at Amida, some are put to death, and others
     are kept as prisoners--Craugasius of Nisibis deserts to the
     Persians from love of his wife, who is their prisoner.--X. The
     people of Rome, fearing a scarcity, become seditious.--XI. The
     Limigantes of Sarmatia, under pretence of suing for peace, attack
     Constantius, who is deceived by their trick; but are driven back
     with heavy loss.--XII. Many are prosecuted for treason, and
     condemned.--XIII. Lauricius, of the Isaurians checks the hordes of


§ 1. The king, rejoicing at this our disaster and captivity, and
expecting other successes, advanced from this castle, and marching
slowly, on the third day came to Amida.

2. And at daybreak, everything, as far as we could see, glittered with
shining arms; and an iron cavalry filled the plains and the hills.

3. And he himself, mounted on his charger, and being taller than the
rest, led his whole army, wearing instead of a crown a golden figure of
a ram's head inlaid with jewels; being also splendid from the retinue of
men of high rank and of different nations which followed him. And it was
evident that his purpose was merely to try the garrison of the walls
with a parley, as, in following out the counsel of Antoninus, he was
hastening to another quarter.

4. But the deity of heaven, mercifully limiting the disasters of the
empire within the compass of one region, led on this king to such an
extravagant degree of elation, that he seemed to believe that the moment
he made his appearance the besieged would be suddenly panic-stricken,
and have recourse to supplication and entreaty.

5. He rode up to the gates, escorted by the cohort of his royal guard;
and while pushing on more boldly, so that his very features might be
plainly recognized, his ornaments made him such a mark for arrows and
other missiles, that he would have been slain, if the dust had not
hindered the sight of those who were shooting at him; so that after a
part of his robe had been cut off by a blow of a javelin, he escaped to
cause vast slaughter at a future time.

6. After this, raging as if against sacrilegious men who had violated a
temple, he cried out that the lord of so many monarchs and nations had
been insulted, and resolved to use all his efforts to destroy the city.
But at the entreaty of his choicest generals not to break the example of
mercy which he had so gloriously set, by indulging in anger, he was
pacified, and the next day ordered the garrison to be summoned to

7. Therefore, at daybreak, Grumbates, king of the Chionitæ, went boldly
up to the walls to effect that object, with a brave body of guards; and
when a skilful reconnoitrer had noticed him coming within shot, he let
fly his balista, and struck down his son in the flower of his youth, who
was at his father's side, piercing through his breastplate, breast and
all; and he was a prince who in stature and beauty was superior to all
his comrades.

8. At his death all his countrymen took to flight, but presently
returning in order to prevent his body from being carried off, and
having roused with their dissonant clamours various tribes to their aid,
a stern conflict arose, the arrows flying on both sides like hail.

9. The deadly struggle having been continued till the close of day, it
was nightfall before the corpse of the young prince, which had been so
stubbornly defended, was extricated from the heap of dead and streams of
blood, amid the thick darkness; as formerly at Troy, the armies fought
in furious combat for the comrade of the Thessalian chieftain.[102]

10. At his death the count was sad, and all the nobles as well as his
father were distressed at his sudden loss; and a cessation of arms
having been ordered, the youth, so noble and beloved, was mourned after
the fashion of his nation. He was carried out in the arms he was wont to
wear, and placed on a spacious and lofty pile; around him ten couches
were dressed, bearing effigies of dead men, so carefully laid out, that
they resembled corpses already buried; and for seven days all the men in
the companies and battalions celebrated a funeral feast, dancing, and
singing melancholy kinds of dirges in lamentation for the royal youth.

11. And the women, with pitiable wailing, deplored with their customary
weepings the hope of their nation thus cut off in the early bloom of
youth; as the worshippers of Venus are often seen to do in the solemn
festival of Adonis, which the mystical doctrines of religion show to be
some sort of image of the ripened fruits of the earth.


§ 1. When the body was burnt and the bones collected in a silver urn,
which his father had ordered to be carried back to his native land, to
be there buried beneath the earth, Sapor, after taking counsel,
determined to propitiate the shade of the deceased prince by making the
destroyed city of Amida his monument. Nor indeed was Grumbates willing
to move onward while the shade of his only son remained unavenged.

2. And having given two days to rest, and sent out large bodies of
troops to ravage the fertile and well-cultivated fields which were as
heavy with crops as in the time of peace, the enemy surrounded the city
with a line of heavy-armed soldiers five deep; and at the beginning of
the third day the brilliant squadrons filled every spot as far as the
eye could see in every direction, and the ranks marching slowly, took up
the positions appointed to each by lot.

3. All the Persians were employed in surrounding the walls; that part
which looked eastward, where that youth so fatal to us was slain, fell
to the Chionitæ. The Vertæ were appointed to the south; the Albani
watched the north; while opposite to the western gate were posted the
Segestani, the fiercest warriors of all, with whom were trains of tall
elephants, horrid with their wrinkled skins, which marched on slowly,
loaded with armed men, terrible beyond the savageness of any other
frightful sight, as we have often said.

4. When we saw these countless hosts thus deliberately collected for the
conflagration of the Roman world, and directed to our own immediate
destruction, we despaired of safety, and sought only how to end our
lives gloriously, as we all desired.

5. From the rising of the sun to its setting, the enemy's lines stood
immovable, as if rooted to the ground, without changing a step or
uttering a sound; nor was even the neigh of a horse heard; and the men
having withdrawn in the same order as they had advanced, after
refreshing themselves with food and sleep, even before the dawn,
returned, led by the clang of brazen trumpets, to surround the city, as
if fated to fall with their terrible ring.

6. And scarcely had Grumbates, like a Roman fecial, hurled at us a spear
stained with blood, according to his native fashion, than the whole
army, rattling their arms, mounted up to the walls, and instantly the
tumult of war grew fierce, while all the squadrons hastened with speed
and alacrity to the attack, and our men on their side opposed them with
equal fierceness and resolution.

7. Soon many of the enemy fell with their heads crushed by vast stones
hurled from scorpions, some were pierced with arrows, others were
transfixed with javelins, and strewed the ground with their bodies;
others, wounded, fled back in haste to their comrades.

8. Nor was there less grief or less slaughter in the city, where the
cloud of arrows obscured the air, and the vast engines, of which the
Persians had got possession when they took Singara, scattered wounds

9. For the garrison, collecting all their forces, returning in constant
reliefs to the combat, in their eagerness to defend the city, fell
wounded, to the hindrance of their comrades, or, being sadly torn as
they fell, threw down those who stood near them, or if still alive,
sought the aid of those skilful in extracting darts which had become
fixed in their bodies.

10. So slaughter was met by slaughter, and lasted till the close of day,
being scarcely stopped by the darkness of evening, so great was the
obstinacy with which both sides fought.

11. And the watches of the night were passed under arms, and the hills
resounded with the shouts raised on both sides, while our men extolled
the valour of Constantius Cæsar as lord of the empire and of the world,
and the Persians styled Sapor Saansas and Pyroses, which appellations
mean king of kings, and conqueror in wars.

12. The next morning, before daybreak, the trumpet gave the signal, and
countless numbers from all sides flocked like birds to a contest of
similar violence; and in every direction, as far as the eye could reach,
nothing could be seen in the plains and valleys but the glittering arms
of these savage nations.

13. And presently a shout was raised, and as the enemy rushed forward
all at once, they were met by a dense shower of missiles from the walls;
and as may be conjectured, none were hurled in vain, falling as they did
among so dense a crowd. For while so many evils surrounded us, we fought
as I have said before, with the hope, not of procuring safety, but of
dying bravely; and from dawn to eventide the battle was evenly
balanced, both fighting with more ferocity than method, and there arose
the shouts of men striking and falling, so that from the eagerness of
both parties there was scarcely any one who did not give or receive

14. At last, night put an end to the slaughter, and the losses on both
sides caused a longer truce. For when the time intended for rest was
allowed to us, continual sleepless toil still exhausted our little
remaining strength, in spite of the dread caused by the bloodshed and
the pallid faces of the dying, whom the scantiness of our room did not
permit us even the last solace of burying; since within the circuit of a
moderate city there were seven legions, and a vast promiscuous multitude
of citizens and strangers of both sexes, and other soldiers, so that at
least twenty thousand men were shut up within the walls.

15. So each attended to his own wounds as well as he could, availing
himself of whatever assistance or remedies came in his way. While some,
being severely wounded, died of loss of blood; and some, pierced through
by swords, lay on the ground, and breathed their last in the open air;
others who were pierced through and through the skilful refused to
touch, in order not to pain them further by inflicting useless
sufferings; some, seeking the doubtful remedy of extracting the arrows,
only incurred agonies worse than death.


§ 1. While the war was going on in this manner around Amida, Ursicinus,
vexed at being dependent on the will of another, gave continual warning
to Sabinianus, who had superior authority over the soldiers, and who
still remained in the quarter of the tombs, to collect all his
light-armed troops, and hasten by secret paths along the foot of the
mountain chain, with the idea that by the aid of this light force, if
chance should aid them, they might surprise some of the enemy's
outposts, and attack with success the night watches of the army, which,
with its vast circuit, was surrounding the walls, or else by incessant
attacks might harass those who clung resolutely to the blockade.

2. But Sabinianus rejected this proposal as mischievous, and produced
some letters from the emperor, expressly enjoining that all that could
be done was to be done without exposing the troops to any danger; but
his own secret motive he kept in his own bosom, namely, that he had been
constantly recommended while at court to refuse his predecessor, who was
very eager for glory, every opportunity of acquiring renown, however
much it might be for the interest of the republic.

3. Extreme pains were taken, even to the ruin of the provinces, to
prevent the gallant Ursicinus from being spoken of as the author of or
partner in any memorable exploit. Therefore, bewildered with these
misfortunes, Ursicinus, seeing that, though constantly sending spies to
us (although from the strict watch that was set it was not easy for any
one to enter the city), and proposing many advantageous plans, he did no
good, seemed like a lion, terrible for his size and fierceness, but with
his claws cut and his teeth drawn, so that he could not dare to save
from danger his cubs entangled in the nets of the hunters.


§ 1. But in the city, where the number of the corpses which lay
scattered over the streets was too great for any one to perform the
funeral rites over them, a pestilence was soon added to the other
calamities of the citizens; the carcases becoming full of worms and
corruption, from the evaporation caused by the heat, and the various
diseases of the people; and here I will briefly explain whence diseases
of this kind arise.

2. Both philosophers and skilful physicians agree that excess of cold,
or of heat, or of moisture, or of drought, all cause pestilences; on
which account those who dwell in marshy or wet districts are subject to
coughs and complaints in the eyes, and other similar maladies: on the
other hand, those who dwell in hot climates are liable to fevers and
inflammations. But since fire is the most powerful of all elements, so
drought is the quickest at killing.

3. On this account it is that when the Greeks were toiling at the ten
years' war,[103] to prevent a foreigner from profiting by his violation
of a royal marriage, a pestilence broke out among them, and numbers died
by the darts of Apollo, who is the same as the Sun.

4. Again, as Thucydides relates, that pestilence which at the beginning
of the Peloponnesian war harassed the Athenians with a most cruel kind
of sickness, came by slow steps from the burning plains of Ethiopia to

5. Others maintain that the air and the water, becoming tainted by the
smell of corpses, and similar things, takes away the healthiness of a
place, or at all events that the sudden change of temperature brings
forth slighter sicknesses.

6. Some again affirm that the air becomes heavier by emanations from the
earth, and kills some individuals by checking the perspiration of the
body, for which reason we learn from Homer, that, besides men, the other
living creatures also died; and we know by many instances, that in such
plagues this does occur.

7. Now the first species of pestilence is called pandemic; this causes
those who live in dry places to be attacked by frequent heats. The
second is called epidemic, which gets gradually more violent, dims the
sight of the eyes, and awakens dangerous humours. The third is called
loemodes,[104] which is also temporary, but still often kills with
great rapidity.

8. We were attacked by this deadly pestilence from the excessive heat,
which our numbers aggravated, though but few died: and at last, on the
night after the tenth day from the first attack, the heavy and dense air
was softened by a little rain, and the health of the garrison was
restored and preserved.


§ 1. In the mean time the restless Persians were surrounding the city
with a fence of wicker-work, and mounds were commenced; lofty towers
also were constructed with iron fronts, in the top of each of which a
balista was placed, in order to drive down the garrison from the
battlements; but during the whole time the shower of missiles from the
archers and slingers never ceased for a moment.

2. We had with us two of the legions which had served under Magnentius,
and which, as we have said, had lately been brought from Gaul, composed
of brave and active men well adapted for conflicts in the plain; but not
only useless for such a kind of war as that by which we were now
pressed, but actually in the way. For as they had no skill either in
working the engines, or in constructing works, but were continually
making foolish sallies, and fighting bravely, they always returned with
diminished numbers; doing just as much good, as the saying is, as a
bucket of water brought by a single hand to a general conflagration.

3. At last, when the gates were completely blocked, and they were
utterly unable to get out, in spite of the entreaties of their tribunes,
they became furious as wild beasts. But on subsequent occasions their
services became conspicuous, as we shall show.

4. In a remote part of the walls on the southern side, which looks down
on the Tigris, there was a high tower, below which yawned an abrupt
precipice, which it was impossible to look over without giddiness. From
this by a hollow subterranean passage along the foot of the mountain
some steps were cut with great skill, which led up to the level of the
city, by which water was secretly obtained from the river, as we have
seen to be the case in all the fortresses in that district which are
situated on any river.

5. This passage was dark, and because of the precipitous character of
the rock was neglected by the besiegers, till, under the guidance of a
deserter who went over to them, seventy Persian archers of the royal
battalion, men of eminent skill and courage, being protected by the
remoteness of the spot which prevented their being heard, climbed up by
the steps one by one at midnight, and reached the third story of the
tower. There they concealed themselves till daybreak, when they held out
a scarlet cloak as a signal for commencing an assault, when they saw
that the city was entirely surrounded by the multitude of their
comrades; and then they emptied their quivers and threw them down at
their feet, and with loud cries shot their arrows among the citizens
with prodigious skill.

6. And presently the whole of the mighty host of the enemy assaulted the
city with more ferocity than ever. And while we stood hesitating and
perplexed to know which danger to oppose first, whether to make head
against the foe above us, or against the multitude who were scaling the
battlements with ladders, our force was divided; and five of the lighter
balistæ were brought round and placed so as to attack our tower. They
shot out heavy wooden javelins with great rapidity, sometimes
transfixing two of our men at one blow, so that many of them fell to the
ground severely wounded, and some jumped down in haste from fear of the
creaking engines, and being terribly lacerated by the fall, died.

7. But by measures promptly taken, the walls were again secured on that
side, and the engines replaced in their former situation.

8. And since the crime of desertion had increased the labours of our
soldiers, they, full of indignation, moved along the battlements as if
on level ground, hurling missiles of all kinds, and exerting themselves
so strenuously that the Virtæ, who were attacking on the south side,
were repulsed covered by wounds, and retired in consternation to their
tents, having to lament the fall of many of their number.


§ 1. Thus fortune showed us a ray of safety, granting us one day in
which we suffered but little, while the enemy sustained a heavy loss;
the remainder of the day was given to rest in order to recruit our
strength; and at the dawn of the next morning we saw from the citadel an
innumerable multitude, which, after the capture of the fort called
Ziata, was being led to the enemy's camp. For a promiscuous multitude
had taken refuge in Ziata on account of its size and strength; it being
a place ten furlongs in circumference.

2. In those days many other fortresses also were stormed and burnt, and
many thousands of men and women carried off from them into slavery;
among whom were many men and women, enfeebled by age, who, fainting
from different causes, broke down under the length of the journey, gave
up all desire of life, and were hamstrung and left behind.

3. The Gallic soldiers beholding these wretched crowds, demanded by a
natural but unseasonable impulse to be led against the forces of the
enemy, threatening their tribunes and principal centurions with death if
they refused them leave.

4. And as wild beasts kept in cages, being rendered more savage by the
smell of blood, dash themselves against their movable bars in the hope
of escaping, so these men smote the gates, which we have already spoken
of as being blockaded, with their swords; being very anxious not to be
involved in the destruction of the city till they had done some gallant
exploit; or, if they ultimately escaped from their dangers, not to be
spoken of as having done nothing worth speaking of, or worthy of their
Gallic courage. Although when they had sallied out before, as they had
often done, and had inflicted some loss on the raisers of the mounds,
they had always experienced equal loss themselves.

5. We, at a loss what to do, and not knowing what resistance to oppose
to these furious men, at length, having with some difficulty won their
consent thereto, decided, since the evil could be endured no longer, to
allow them to attack the Persian advanced guard, which was not much
beyond bowshot; and then, if they could force their line, they might
push their advance further. For it was plain that if they succeeded in
this, they would cause a great slaughter of the enemy.

6. And while the preparations for this sally were being made, the walls
were still gallantly defended with unmitigated labour and watching, and
planting engines for shooting stones and darts in every direction. But
two high mounds had been raised by the Persian infantry, and the
blockade of the city was still pressed forward by gradual operations;
against which our men, exerting themselves still more vigorously, raised
also immense structures, topping the highest works of the enemy; and
sufficiently strong to support the immense weight of their defenders.

7. In the mean time the Gallic troops, impatient of delay, armed with
their axes and swords, went forth from the open postern gate, taking
advantage of a dark and moonless night. And imploring the Deity to be
propitious, and repressing even their breath when they got near the
enemy, they advanced with quick step and in close order, slew some of
the watch at the outposts, and the outer sentinels of the camp (who were
asleep, fearing no such event), and entertained secret hopes of
penetrating even to the king's tent if fortune assisted them.

8. But some noise, though slight, was made by them in their march, and
the groans of the slain aroused many from sleep; and while each
separately raised the cry "to arms," our soldiers halted and stood firm,
not venturing to move any further forward. For it would not have been
prudent, now that those whom they sought to surprise were awakened, to
hasten into open danger, while the bands of Persians were now heard to
be flocking to battle from all quarters.

9. Nevertheless the Gallic troops, with undiminished strength and
boldness, continued to hew down their foes with their swords, though
some of their own men were also slain, pierced by the arrows which were
flying from all quarters; and they still stood firm, when they saw the
whole danger collected into one point, and the bands of the enemy coming
on with speed; yet no one turned his back: and they withdrew, retiring
slowly as if in time to music, and gradually fell behind the pales of
the camp, being unable to sustain the weight of the battalions pressing
close upon them, and being deafened by the clang of the Persian

10. And while many trumpets in turn poured out their clang from the
city, the gates were opened to receive our men, if they should be able
to reach them: and the engines for missiles creaked, though no javelins
were shot from them, in order that the captains of the advanced guard of
the Persians, ignorant of the slaughter of their comrades, might be
terrified by the noise into falling back, and so allowing our gallant
troops to be admitted in safety.

11. And owing to this manoeuvre, the Gauls about daybreak entered the
gate although with diminished numbers, many of them severely and others
slightly wounded. They lost four hundred men this night, when if they
had not been hindered by more formidable obstacles, they would have
slain in his very tent not Rhesus nor Thracians sleeping before the
walls of Troy, but the king of Persia, surrounded by one hundred
thousand armed men.

12. To their leaders, as champions of valiant actions, the emperor,
after the fall of the city, ordered statues in armour to be erected at
Edessa in a frequented spot. And those statues are preserved up to the
present time unhurt.

13. When the next day showed the slaughter which had been made, nobles
and satraps were found lying amongst the corpses, and all kinds of
dissonant cries and tears indicated the changed posture of the Persian
host: everywhere was heard wailing; and great indignation was expressed
by the princes, who thought that the Romans had forced their way through
the sentries in front of the walls. A truce was made for three days by
the common consent of both armies, and we gladly accepted a little
respite in which to take breath.[105]


§ 1. Now the nations of the barbarians, being amazed at the novelty of
this attempt, and rendered by it more savage than ever, discarding all
delay, determined to proceed with their works, since open assaults
availed them but little. And with extreme warlike eagerness they all now
hastened to die gloriously, or else to propitiate the souls of the dead
by the ruin of the city.

2. And now, the necessary preparations having been completed by the
universal alacrity, at the rising of the day-star all kinds of
structures and iron towers were brought up to the walls; on the lofty
summits of which balistæ were fitted, which beat down the garrison who
were placed on lower ground.

3. And when day broke the iron coverings of the bodies of the foe
darkened the whole heaven, and the dense lines advanced without any
skirmishers in front, and not in an irregular manner as before, but to
the regular and soft music of trumpets; protected by the roofs of the
engines, and holding before them wicker shields.

4. And when they came within reach of our missiles, the Persian
infantry, holding their shields in front of them, and even then having
difficulty in avoiding the arrows which were shot from the engines on
the walls, for scarcely any kind of weapon found an empty space, they
broke their line a little; and even the cuirassiers were checked and
began to retreat, which raised the spirits of our men.

5. Still the balistæ of the enemy, placed on their iron towers, and
pouring down missiles with great power from their high ground on those
in a lower position, spread a great deal of slaughter in our ranks. At
last, when evening came on, both sides retired to rest, and the greater
part of the night was spent by us in considering what device could be
adopted to resist the formidable engines of the enemy.

6. At length, after we had considered many plans, we determined on one
which the rapidity with which it could be executed made the safest--to
oppose four scorpions to the four balistæ; which were carefully moved (a
very difficult operation) from the place in which they were; but before
this work was finished, day arrived, bringing us a mournful sight,
inasmuch as it showed us the formidable battalions of the Persians, with
their trains of elephants, the noise and size of which animals are such
that nothing more terrible can be presented to the mind of man.

7. And while we were pressed on all sides with the vast masses of arms,
and works, and beasts, still our scorpions were kept at work with their
iron slings, hurling huge round stones from the battlements, by which
the towers of the enemy were crushed and the balistæ and those who
worked them were dashed to the ground, so that many were desperately
injured, and many crushed by the weight of the falling structures. And
the elephants were driven back with violence, and surrounded by the
flames which we poured forth against them, the moment that they were
wounded retired, and could not be restrained by their riders. The works
were all burnt, but still there was no cessation from the conflict.

8. For the king of the Persians himself, who is never expected to mingle
in the fight, being indignant at these disasters, adopting a new and
unprecedented mode of action, sprang forth like a common soldier among
his own dense columns; and as the very number of his guards made him the
more conspicuous to us who looked from afar on the scene, he was
assailed by numerous missiles, and was forced to retire after he had
lost many of his escort, while his troops fell back by echellons; and at
the end of the day, though frightened neither by the sad sight of the
slaughter nor of the wounds, he at length allowed a short period to be
given to rest.


§ 1. Night had put an end to the combat; and when a slight rest had been
procured from sleep, the moment that the dawn, looked for as the
harbinger of better fortune, appeared, Sapor, full of rage and
indignation, and perfectly reckless, called forth his people to attack
us. And as his works were all burnt, as we have related, and the attack
had to be conducted by means of their lofty mounds raised close to our
walls, we also from mounds within the walls, as fast as we could raise
them, struggled in spite of all our difficulties, with all our might,
and with equal courage, against our assailants.

2. And long did the bloody conflict last, nor was any one of the
garrison driven by fear of death from his resolution to defend the city.
The conflict was prolonged, till at last, while the fortune of the two
sides was still undecided, the structure raised by our men, having been
long assailed and shaken, at last fell, as if by an earthquake.

3. And the whole space which was between the wall and the external mound
being made level as if by a causeway or a bridge, opened a passage to
the enemy, which was no longer embarrassed by any obstacles; and numbers
of our men, being crushed or enfeebled by their wounds, gave up the
struggle. Still men flocked from all quarters to repel so imminent a
danger, but from their eager haste they got in one another's way, while
the boldness of the enemy increased with their success.

4. By the command of the king all his troops now hastened into action,
and a hand-to-hand engagement ensued. Blood ran down from the vast
slaughter on both sides: the ditches were filled with corpses, and thus
a wider path was opened for the besiegers. And the city, being now
filled with the eager crowd which forced its way in, all hope of defence
or of escape was cut off, and armed and unarmed without any distinction
of age or sex were slaughtered like sheep.

5. It was full evening, when, though fortune had proved adverse, the
bulk of our troops was still fighting in good order; and I, having
concealed myself with two companions in an obscure corner of the city,
now under cover of darkness, made my escape by a postern gate where
there was no guard; and aided by my own knowledge of the country and by
the speed of my companions, I at last reached the tenth milestone from
the city.

6. Here, having lightly refreshed ourselves, I tried to proceed, but
found myself, as a noble unaccustomed to such toil, overcome by fatigue
of the march. I happened to fall in, however, with what, though a most
unsightly object, was to me, completely tired out, a most seasonable

7. A groom riding a runaway horse, barebacked and without a bridle, in
order to prevent his falling had knotted the halter by which he was
guiding him tightly to his left hand, and presently, being thrown, and
unable to break the knot, he was torn to pieces as he was dragged over
the rough ground and through the bushes, till at last the weight of his
dead body stopped the tired beast; I caught him, and mounting him,
availed myself of his services at a most seasonable moment, and after
much suffering arrived with my companions at some sulphurous springs of
naturally hot water.

8. On account of the heat we had suffered greatly from thirst, and had
been crawling about for some time in search of water; and now when we
came to this well it was so deep that we could not descend into it, nor
had we any ropes; but, taught by extreme necessity, we tore up the linen
clothes which we wore into long rags, which we made into one great rope,
and fastened to the end of it a cap which one of us wore beneath his
helmet; and letting that down by the rope, and drawing up water in it
like a sponge, we easily quenched our thirst.

9. From hence we proceeded rapidly to the Euphrates, intending to cross
to the other side in the boat which long custom had stationed in that
quarter, to convey men and cattle across.

10. When lo! we see at a distance a Roman force with cavalry standards,
scattered and pursued by a division of Persians, though we did not know
from what quarter it had come so suddenly on them in their march.

11. This example showed us that what men call indigenous people are not
sprung from the bowels of the earth, but merely appear unexpectedly by
reason of the speed of their movements: and because they were seen
unexpectedly in various places, they got the name of Sparti,[106] and
were believed to have sprung from the ground, antiquity exaggerating
their renown in a fabulous manner, as it does that of other things.

12. Roused by this sight, since our only hope of safety lay in our
speed, we drew off through the thickets and woods to the high mountains;
and from thence we went to Melitina, a town of the Lesser Armenia, where
we found our chief just on the point of setting off, in whose company we
went on to Antioch.


§ 1. In the mean time Sapor and the Persians began to think of returning
home, because they feared to penetrate more inland with their prisoners
and booty, now that the autumn was nearly over, and the unhealthy star
of the Kids had arisen.

2. But amid the massacres and plunder of the destroyed city, Ælian the
count, and the tribunes by whose vigour the walls of Amida had been
defended, and the losses of the Persians multiplied, were wickedly
crucified; and Jacobus and Cæsias, the treasurers of the commander of
the cavalry, and others of the band of protectores, were led as
prisoners, with their hands bound behind their backs; and the people of
the district beyond the Tigris, who were diligently sought for, were all
slain without distinction of rank or dignity.

3. But the wife of Craugasius, who, preserving her chastity inviolate,
was treated with the respect due to a high-born matron, was mourning as
if she were to be carried to another world without her husband,
although she had indications afforded her that she might hope for a
higher future.

4. Therefore, thinking of her own interests, and having a wise forecast
of the future, she was torn with a twofold anxiety, loathing both
widowhood and the marriage she saw before her. Accordingly, she secretly
sent off a friend of sure fidelity, and well acquainted with
Mesopotamia, to pass by Mount Izala, between the two forts called Maride
and Lorne, and so to effect his entrance into Nisibis, calling upon her
husband, with urgent entreaties and the revelation of many secrets of
her own private condition, after hearing what the messenger could tell
him, to come to Persia and live happily with her there.

5. The messenger, travelling with great speed through jungle roads and
thickets, reached Nisibis, pretending that he had never seen his
mistress, and that, as in all likelihood she was slain, he had availed
himself of an accidental opportunity to make his escape from the enemy's
camp. And so, being neglected as one of no importance, he got access to
Craugasius, and told him what had happened. And having received from him
an assurance that, as soon as he could do so with safety, he would
gladly rejoin his wife, he departed, bearing the wished-for intelligence
to the lady. She, when she received it, addressed herself, through the
medium of Tamsapor, to the king, entreating him that, if the opportunity
offered before he quitted the Roman territories, he would order her
husband to be restored to her.

6. But the fact of this stranger having departed thus unexpectedly,
without any one suspecting it, after his secret return, raised
suspicions in the mind of Duke Cassianus and the other nobles who had
authority in the city, who addressed severe menaces to Craugasius,
insisting that the man could neither have come nor have gone without his

7. And he, fearing the charge of treason, and being very anxious lest
the flight of the deserter should cause a suspicion that his wife was
still alive and was well treated by the enemy, feigned to court a
marriage with another virgin of high rank. And having gone out to a
villa which he had eight miles from the city, as if with the object of
making the necessary preparations for the wedding feast, he mounted a
horse, and fled at full speed to a predatory troop of Persians which he
had learnt was in the neighbourhood, and being cordially received, when
it was seen from what he said who he was, he was delivered over to
Tamsapor on the fifth day, and by him he was introduced to the king, and
recovered not only his wife, but his family and all his treasures,
though he lost his wife only a few months afterwards. And he was
esteemed only second to Antoninus, though as a great poet has said,

  "Longo proximus intervallo."[107]

8. For Antoninus was eminent both for genius and experience in affairs,
and had useful counsels for every enterprise that could be proposed,
while Craugasius was of a less subtle nature, though also very
celebrated. And all these events took place within a short time after
the fall of Amida.

9. But the king, though showing no marks of anxiety on his countenance,
and though he appeared full of exultation at the fall of the city, still
in the depths of his heart was greatly perplexed, recollecting that in
the siege he had frequently sustained severe losses, and that he had
lost more men, and those too of more importance than any prisoners whom
he had taken from us, or than we had lost in all the battles that had
taken place; as indeed had also been the case at Singara, and at
Nisibis. In the seventy-three days during which he had been blockading
Amida, he had lost thirty thousand soldiers, as was reckoned a few days
later by Discenes, a tribune and secretary; the calculation being the
more easily made because the corpses of our men very soon shrink and
lose their colour, so that their faces can never be recognized after
four days; but the bodies of the Persians dry up like the trunks of
trees, so that nothing exudes from them, nor do they suffer from any
suffusion of blood, which is caused by their more sparing diet, and by
the dryness and heat of their native land.


§ 1. While these events and troubles were proceeding rapidly in the
remote districts of the East, the Eternal City was fearing distress
from an impending scarcity of corn; and the violence of the common
people, infuriated by the expectation of that worst of all evils, was
vented upon Tertullus, who at that time was prefect of the city. This
was unreasonable, since it did not depend upon him that the provisions
were embarked in a stormy season in ships which, through the unusually
tempestuous state of the sea, and the violence of contrary winds, were
driven into any ports they could make, and were unable to reach the port
of Augustus, from the greatness of the dangers which threatened them.

2. Nevertheless, Tertullus was continually troubled by the seditious
movements of the people, who worked themselves up to great rage, being
excited by the imminent danger of a famine; till, having no hope of
preserving his own safety, he wisely brought his little boys out to the
people, who, though in a state of tumultuous disorder, were often
influenced by sudden accidents, and with tears addressed them thus:--

3. "Behold your fellow-citizens, who (may the gods avert the omen),
unless fortune should take a more favourable turn, will be exposed to
the same sufferings as yourselves. If then you think that by destroying
them you will be saved from all suffering, they are in your power." The
people, of their own nature inclined to mercy, were propitiated by this
sad address, and made no answer, but awaited their impending fate with

4. And soon, by the favour of the deity who has watched over the growth
of Rome from its first origin, and who promised that it should last for
ever, while Tertullus was at Ostia, sacrificing in the temple of Castor
and Pollux, the sea became calm, the wind changed to a gentle south-east
breeze, and the ships in full sail entered the port, laden with corn to
fill the granaries.


§ 1. While these perplexing transactions were taking place, intelligence
full of importance and danger reached Constantius who was reposing in
winter quarters at Sirmium, informing him (as he had already greatly
feared) that the Sarmatian Limigantes, who, as we have before related,
had expelled their masters from their hereditary homes, had learnt to
despise the lands which had been generously allotted to them in the
preceding year, in order to prevent so fickle a class from undertaking
any mischievous enterprise, and had seized on the districts over the
border; that they were straggling, according to their national custom,
with great licence over the whole country, and would throw everything
into disorder if they were not put down.

2. The emperor, judging that any delay would increase their insolence,
collected from all quarters a strong force of veteran soldiers, and
before the spring was much advanced, set forth on an expedition against
them, being urged to greater activity by two considerations; first,
because the army, having acquired great booty during the last summer,
was likely to be encouraged to successful exertion in the hope of
similar reward; and secondly, because, as Anatolius was at that time
prefect of Illyricum, everything necessary for such an expedition could
be readily provided without recourse to any stringent measures.

3. For under no other prefect's government (as is agreed by all), up to
the present time, had the northern provinces ever been so flourishing in
every point of view; all abuses being corrected with a kind and prudent
hand, while the people were relieved from the burden of transporting the
public stores (which often caused such losses as to ruin many families),
and also from the heavy income tax. So that the natives of those
districts would have been free from all damage and cause of complaint,
if at a later period some detestable collectors had not come among them,
extorting money, and exaggerating accusations, in order to build up
wealth and influence for themselves, and to procure their own safety and
prosperity by draining the natives; carrying their severities to the
proscription and even execution of many of them.

4. To apply a remedy to this insurrection, the emperor set out, as I
have said, with a splendid staff, and reached Valeria, which was
formerly a part of Pannonia, but which had been established as a
separate province, and received its new name in honour of Valeria, the
daughter of Diocletian. And having encamped his army on the banks of the
Danube, he watched the movements of the barbarians, who, before his
arrival, had been proposing, under friendly pretences, to enter
Pannonia, meaning to lay it waste during the severity of the winter
season, before the snow had been melted by the warmth of spring and the
river had become passable, and while our people were unable from the
cold to bear bivouacking in the open air.

5. He at once therefore sent two tribunes, each accompanied by an
interpreter, to the Limigantes, to inquire mildly why they had quitted
the homes which at their own request had been assigned to them after the
conclusion of the treaty of peace, and why they were now straggling in
various directions, and passing their boundaries in contempt of his

6. They made vain and frivolous excuses, fear compelling them to have
recourse to lies, and implored the emperor's pardon, beseeching him to
discard his displeasure, and to allow them to cross the river and come
to him to explain the hardships under which they were labouring;
alleging their willingness, if required, to retire to remoter lands,
only within the Roman frontier, where, enjoying lasting peace and
worshipping tranquillity as their tutelary deity, they would submit to
the name and discharge the duties of tributary subjects.

7. When the tribunes returned and related this, the emperor, exulting
that an affair which appeared full of inextricable difficulties was
likely to be brought to a conclusion without any trouble, and being
eager to add to his acquisitions, admitted them all to his presence. His
eagerness for acquiring territory was fanned by a swarm of flatterers,
who were incessantly saying that when all distant districts were at
peace, and when tranquillity was established everywhere, he would gain
many subjects, and would be able to enlist powerful bodies of recruits,
thereby relieving the provinces, which would often rather give money
than personal service (though this expectation has more than once proved
very mischievous to the state).

8. Presently he pitched his camp near Acimincum,[108] where a lofty
mound was raised to serve for a tribune; and some boats, loaded with
soldiers of the legions, without their baggage, under command of
Innocentius, an engineer who had suggested the measure, were sent to
watch the channel of the river, keeping close under the bank; so that,
if they perceived the barbarians in disorder, they might come upon them
and surprise their rear, while their attention was directed elsewhere.

9. The Limigantes became aware of the measures thus promptly taken, but
still employed no other means of defence than humility and entreaty;
though secretly they cherished designs very different from those
indicated by their words and gestures.

10. But when they saw the emperor on his high mound preparing a mild
harangue, and about to address them as men who would prove obedient in
future, one of them, seized with a sudden fury, hurled his shoe at the
tribune, and cried out, "Marha, Marha!" which in their language is a
signal of war; and a disorderly mob following him, suddenly raised their
barbaric standard, and with fierce howls rushed upon the emperor

11. And when he, looking down from his high position, saw the whole
place filled with thousands of men running to and fro, and their drawn
swords and rapiers threatening him with immediate destruction, he
descended, and mingling both with the barbarians and his own men,
without any one perceiving him or knowing whether he was an officer or a
common soldier; and since there was no time for delay or inaction, he
mounted a speedy horse, and galloped away, and so escaped.

12. But his few guards, while endeavouring to keep back the mutineers,
who rushed on with the fierceness of fire, were all killed, either by
wounds, or by being crushed beneath the weight of others who fell upon
them; and the royal throne, with its golden cushion, was torn to pieces
without any one making an effort to save it.

13. But presently, when it became known that the emperor, after having
been in the most imminent danger of his life, was still in peril, the
army, feeling it to be the most important of all objects to assist him,
for they did not yet think him safe, and confiding in their prowess,
though from the suddenness of the attack they were only half formed,
threw themselves, with loud and warlike cries upon the bands of the
barbarians, fearlessly braving death.

14. And because in their fiery valour our men were resolved to wipe out
disgrace by glory, and were full of anger at the treachery of the foe,
they slew every one whom they met without mercy, trampling all under
foot, living, wounded, and dead alike; so that heaps of dead were piled
up before their hands were weary of the slaughter. For the rebels were
completely overwhelmed, some being slain, and others fleeing in fear,
many of whom implored their lives with various entreaties, but were
slaughtered with repeated wounds. And when, after they were all
destroyed, the trumpets sounded a retreat, it was found that only a very
few of our men were killed, and these had either been trampled down at
first, or had perished from the insufficiency of their armour to resist
the violence of the enemy.

15. But the most glorious death was that of Cella, the tribune of the
Scutarii, who at the beginning of the uproar set the example of plunging
first into the middle of the Sarmatian host.

16. After these blood-stained transactions, Constantius took what
precautions prudence suggested for the security of his frontiers, and
then returned to Sirmium, having avenged himself on the perfidity of his
enemies. And having there settled everything which the occasion
required, he quitted Sirmium and went to Constantinople, that by being
nearer to the East, he might remedy the disasters which had been
sustained at Amida, and having reinforced his army with new levies, he
might check the attempts of the king of Persia with equal vigour; as it
was clear that Sapor, if Providence and some more pressing occupation
did not prevent him, would leave Mesopotamia and bring the war over the
plains on this side of that country.


§ 1. But amid these causes of anxiety, as if in accordance with
old-established custom, instead of the signal for civil war, the trumpet
sounded groundless charges of treason, and a secretary, whom we shall
often have to speak of, named Paulus, was sent to inquire into these
charges. He was a man skilful in all the contrivances of cruelty, making
gain and profit of tortures and executions, as a master of gladiators
does of his fatal games.

2. For as he was firm and resolute in his purpose of injuring people,
he did not abstain even from theft, and invented all kinds of causes for
the destruction of innocent men, while engaged in this miserable

3. A slight and trivial circumstance afforded infinite material for
extending his investigations. There is a town called Abydum in the most
remote corner of the Egyptian Thebais, where an oracle of the god, known
in that region by the name of Besa, had formerly enjoyed some celebrity
for its prophecies, and had sacred rites performed at it with all the
ceremonies anciently in use in the neighbouring districts.

4. Some used to go themselves to consult this oracle, some to send by
others documents containing their wishes, and with prayers couched in
explicit language inquired the will of the deities; and the paper or
parchment on which their wants were written, after the answer had been
given, was sometimes left in the temple.

5. Some of these were spitefully sent to the emperor, and he, narrow
minded as he was, though often deaf to other matters of serious
consequence, had, as the proverb says, a soft place in his ear for this
kind of information; and being of a suspicious and petty temper, became
full of gall and fury; and immediately ordered Paulus to repair with all
speed to the East, giving him authority, as to a chief of great eminence
and experience, to try all the causes as he pleased.

6. And Modestus also, at that time count of the East, a man well suited
for such a business, was joined with him in this commission. For
Hermogenes of Pontus, at that time prefect of the prætorium, was passed
over as of too gentle a disposition.

7. Paulus proceeded, as he was ordered, full of deadly eagerness and
rage; inviting all kinds of calumnies, so that numbers from every part
of the empire were brought before him, noble and low born alike; some of
whom were condemned to imprisonment, others to instant death.

8. The city which was chosen to witness these fatal scenes was
Scythopolis in Palestine, which for two reasons seemed the most suitable
of all places; first, because it was little frequented and secondly,
because it was half-way between Antioch and Alexandria, from which city
many of those brought before this tribunal came.

9. One of the first persons accused was Simplicius, the son of Philip;
a man who, after having been prefect and consul, was now impeached on
the ground that he was said to have consulted the oracle how to obtain
the empire. He was sentenced to the torture by the express command of
the emperor, who in these cases never erred on the side of mercy; but by
some special fate he was saved from it, and with uninjured body was
condemned to distant banishment.

10. The next victim was Parnasius, who had been prefect of Egypt, a man
of simple manners, but now in danger of being condemned to death, and
glad to escape with exile; because long ago he had been heard to say
that when he left Patræ in Achaia, the place of his birth, with the view
of procuring some high office, he had in a dream seen himself conducted
on his road by several figures in tragic robes.

11. The next was Andronicus, subsequently celebrated for his liberal
accomplishments and his poetry; he was brought before the court without
having given any real ground for suspicion of any kind, and defended
himself so vigorously that he was acquitted.

12. There was also Demetrius, surnamed Chytras, a philosopher, of great
age, but still firm in mind and body; he, when charged with having
frequently offered sacrifices in the temple of his oracle, could not
deny it; but affirmed that, for the sake of propitiating the deity, he
had constantly done so from his early youth, and not with any idea of
aiming at any higher fortune by his questions; nor had he known any one
who had aimed at such. And though he was long on the rack he supported
it with great constancy, never varying in his statement, till at length
he was acquitted and allowed to retire to Alexandria, where he was born.

13. These and a few others, justice, coming to the aid of truth,
delivered from their imminent dangers. But as accusations extended more
widely, involving numbers without end in their snares, many perished;
some with their bodies mangled on the rack; others were condemned to
death and confiscation of their goods; while Paulus kept on inventing
groundless accusations, as if he had a store of lies on which to draw,
and suggesting various pretences for injuring people, so that on his
nod, it may be said, the safety of every one in the place depended.

14. For if any one wore on his neck a charm against the quartan ague or
any other disease, or if by any information laid by his ill-wishers he
was accused of having passed by a sepulchre at nightfall, and therefore
of being a sorcerer, and one who dealt in the horrors of tombs and the
vain mockeries of the shades which haunt them, he was found guilty and
condemned to death.

15. And the affairs went on as if people had been consulting Claros, or
the oaks at Dodona, or the Delphic oracles of old fame, with a view to
the destruction of the emperor.

16. Meantime, the crowd of courtiers, inventing every kind of deceitful
flattery, affirmed that he would be free from all common misfortunes,
asserting that his fate had always shone forth with vigour and power in
destroying all who attempted anything injurious to him.

17. That indeed strict investigation should be made into such matters,
no one in his senses will deny; nor do we question that the safety of
our lawful prince, the champion and defender of the good, and on whom
the safety of all other people depends, ought to be watched over by the
combined zeal of all men; and for the sake of insuring this more
completely, when any treasonable enterprise is discovered, the Cornelian
laws have provided that no rank shall be exempted even from torture if
necessary for the investigation.

18. But it is not decent to exult unrestrainedly in melancholy events,
lest the subjects should seem to be governed by tyranny, not by
authority. It is better to imitate Cicero, who, when he had it in his
power either to spare or to strike, preferred, as he tells us himself,
to seek occasions for pardoning rather than for punishing, which is
characteristic of a prudent and wise judge.

19. At that time a monster, horrible both to see and to describe, was
produced at Daphne, a beautiful and celebrated suburb of Antioch;
namely, an infant with two mouths, two sets of teeth, two heads, four
eyes, and only two very short ears. And such a mis-shapen offspring was
an omen that the republic would become deformed.

20. Prodigies of this kind are often produced, presaging events of
various kinds; but as they are not now publicly expiated, as they were
among the ancients, they are unheard of and unknown to people in


§ 1. During this period the Isaurians, who had been tranquil for some
time after the transactions already mentioned, and the attempt to take
the city of Seleucia, gradually reviving, as serpents come out of their
holes in the warmth of spring, descended from their rocky and pathless
jungles, and forming into large troops, harassed their neighbours with
predatory incursions; escaping, from their activity as mountaineers, all
attempts of the soldiers to take them, and from long use moving easily
over rocks and through thickets.

2. So Lauricius was sent among them as governor, with the additional
title of count, to reduce them to order by fair means or foul. He was a
man of sound civil wisdom, correcting things in general by threats
rather than by severity, so that while he governed the province, which
he did for some time, nothing happened deserving of particular notice.

[102] Patroclus, the companion of Achilles.

[103] The Trojan war. See the account of the pestilence, Homer Il. i.

[104] _i.e._, λοιμώδης, from λοιμὸς, pestilence.
Pandemic means "attacking the whole people." Epidemic, "spreading from
individual to individual."

[105] Ammian alludes to the expedition of Ulysses and Diomede related by
Homer, Il. viii.

[106] Ammianus is wrong here; it was only the Thebans who were called
Σπαρτοὶ, from σπείρω, to sow, because of the fable of
the dragon's teeth sown by Cadmus; the Athenians, who claimed to be
earthborn, not called Σπαρτοὶ, but αὐτόχθονες.

[107] A quotation from the description of the foot-race in Virgil, Æn.
v. 320.

[108] Salankemen, in Hungary.



     I. Lupicinus is sent as commander-in-chief into Britain with an
     army to check the incursions of the Picts and Scots.--II.
     Ursicinus, commander of the infantry, is attacked by calumnies, and
     dismissed.--III. An eclipse of the sun--A discussion on the two
     suns, and on the causes of solar and lunar eclipses, and the
     various changes and shapes of the moon.--IV. The Cæsar Julian,
     against his will, is saluted as emperor at Paris, where he was
     wintering, by his Gallican soldiers, whom Constantius had ordered
     to be taken from him, and sent to the East to act against the
     Persians.--V. He harangues his soldiers.--VI. Singara is besieged
     and taken by Sapor: the citizens, with the auxiliary cavalry and
     two legions in garrison, are carried off to Persia--The town is
     razed to the ground.--VII. Sapor storms the town of Bezabde, which
     is defended by three legions; repairs it, and places in it a
     garrison and magazines; he also attacks the fortress of Victa,
     without success.--VIII. Julian writes to Constantius to inform him
     of what had taken place at Paris.--IX. Constantius desires Julian
     to be content with the title of Cæsar; but the Gallican legions
     unanimously refuse to allow him to be so.--X. The Emperor Julian
     unexpectedly attacks a Frank tribe, known as the Attuarii, on the
     other side of the Rhine; slays some, takes others prisoners, and
     grants peace to the rest, on their petition.--XI. Constantius
     attacks Bezabde with his whole force, but fails--A discussion on
     the rainbow.


A.D. 360.

§ 1. These were the events which took place in Illyricum and in the
East. But the next year, that of Constantius's tenth and Julian's third
consulship, the affairs of Britain became troubled, in consequence of
the incursions of the savage nations of Picts and Scots, who breaking
the peace to which they had agreed, were plundering the districts on
their borders, and keeping in constant alarm the provinces exhausted by
former disasters, Cæsar, who was wintering at Paris, having his mind
divided by various cares, feared to go to the aid of his subjects across
the channel (as we have related Constans to have done), lest he should
leave the Gauls without a governor, while the Allemanni were still full
of fierce and warlike inclinations.

2. Therefore, to tranquillize these districts by reason or by force, it
was decided to send Lupicinus, who was at that time commander of the
forces; a man of talent in war, and especially skilful in all that
related to camps, but very haughty, and smelling, as one may say, of the
tragic buskin, while parts of his conduct made it a question which
predominated--his avarice or his cruelty.

3. Accordingly, an auxiliary force of light-armed troops, Heruli and
Batavi, with two legions from Moesia, were in the very depth of winter
put under the command of this general, with which he marched to
Boulogne, and having procured some vessels and embarked his soldiers on
them, he sailed with a fair wind, and reached Richborough on the
opposite coast, from which place he proceeded to London, that he might
there deliberate on the aspect of affairs, and take immediate measures
for his campaign.


§ 1. In the mean time, after the fall of Amida, and after Ursicinus had
returned as commander of the infantry to the emperor's camp (for we have
already mentioned that he had been appointed to succeed Barbatio), he
was at once attacked by slanderers, who at first tried to whisper his
character away, but presently openly brought forward false charges
against him.

2. And the emperor, listening to them, since he commonly formed his
opinions on vain conjecture, and was always ready to yield his judgment
to crafty persons, appointed Arbetio and Florentius, the chief steward,
as judges to inquire how it was that the town was destroyed. They
rejected the plain and easily proved causes of the disaster, fearing
that Eusebius, at that time high chamberlain, would be offended if they
admitted proofs which showed undeniably that what had happened was owing
to the obstinate inactivity of Sabinianus; and so distorting the truth,
they examined only some points of no consequence, and having no bearing
on the transaction.

3. Ursicinus felt the iniquity of this proceeding; and said, "Although
the emperor despises me, still the importance of this affair is such
that it cannot be judged of and punished by any decision lower than that
of the emperor. Nevertheless, let him know what I venture to prophesy,
that while he is concerning himself about this disaster at Amida, of
which he has received a faithful account; and while he gives himself up
to the influence of the eunuchs, he will not in the ensuing spring,[109]
even if he himself should come with the entire strength of his army, be
able to prevent the dismemberment of Mesopotamia." This speech having
been related to the emperor with many additions, and a malignant
interpretation, Constantius became enraged beyond measure; and without
allowing the affair to be discussed, or those things to be explained to
him of which he was ignorant, he believed all the calumnies against
Ursicinus, and deposing him from his office, ordered him into
retirement; promoting Agilo, by a vast leap, to take his place, he
having been before only a tribune of a native troop of Scutarii.


§ 1. At the same time one day the sky in the east was perceived to be
covered with a thick darkness, and from daybreak to noon the stars were
visible throughout; and, as an addition to these terrors, while the
light of heaven was thus withdrawn, and the world almost buried in
clouds, men, from the length of the eclipse, began to believe that the
sun had wholly disappeared. Presently, however, it was seen again like a
new moon, then like a half-moon, and at last it was restored entire.

2. A thing which on other occasions did not happen so visibly except
when after several unequal revolutions, the moon returns to exactly the
same point at fixed intervals; that is to say, when the moon is found in
the same sign of the zodiac, exactly opposite to the rays of the sun,
and stops there a few minutes, which in geometry are called parts of

3. And although the changes and motions of both sun and moon, as the
inquiries into intelligible causes have remarked, perpetually return to
the same conjunction at the end of each lunar month, still the sun is
not always eclipsed on these occasions, but only when the moon, as by a
kind of balance, is in the exact centre between the sun and our sight.

4. In short, the sun is eclipsed, and his brilliancy removed from our
sight, when he and the moon, which of all the constellations of heaven
is the lowest, proceeding with equal pace in their orbits, are placed in
conjunction in spite of the height which separates them (as Ptolemy
learnedly explains it), and afterwards return to the dimensions which
are called ascending or descending points of the ecliptic conjunctions:
or, as the Greeks call them, defective conjunctions. And if these great
lights find themselves in the neighbourhood of these points or knots,
the eclipse is small.

5. But if they are exactly in the knots which form the points of
intersection between the ascending and descending path of the moon, then
the sky will be covered with denser darkness, and the whole atmosphere
becomes so thick that we cannot see what is close to us.

6. Again, the sun is conceived to appear double when a cloud is raised
higher than usual, which from its proximity to the eternal fires, shines
in such a manner that it forms the brightness of a second orb as from a
purer mirror.

7. Now let us come to the moon. The moon sustains a clear and visible
eclipse when, being at the full, and exactly opposite to the sun, she is
distant from his orb one hundred and eighty degrees, that is, is in the
seventh sign; and although this happens at every full moon, still there
is not always one eclipse.

8. But since she is always nearest to the earth as it revolves, and the
most distant from the rest of the other stars, and sometimes exposes
itself to the light which strikes it, and sometimes also is partially
obscured by the intervention of the shade of night, which comes over it
in the form of a cone; and then she is involved in thick darkness, when
the sun, being surrounded by the centre of the lowest sphere, cannot
illuminate her with his rays, because the mass of the earth is in the
way; for opinions agree that the moon has no light of her own.

9. And when she returns to the same sign of the zodiac which the sun
occupies, she is obscured (as has been said), her brightness being
wholly dimmed, and this is called a conjunction of the moon.

10. Again the moon is said to be new when she has the sun above her with
a slight variation from the perpendicular, and then she appears very
thin to mankind, even when leaving the sun she reaches the second sign.
Then, when she has advanced further, and shines brilliantly with a sort
of horned figure, she is said to be crescent shaped; but when she begins
to be a long way distant from the sun, and reaches the fourth sign, she
gets a greater light, the sun's rays being turned upon her, and then she
is of the shape of a semicircle.

11. As she goes on still further, and reaches the fifth sign, she
assumes a convex shape, a sort of hump appearing from each side. And
when she is exactly opposite the sun, she shines with a full light,
having arrived at the seventh sign; and even while she is there, having
advanced but a very little further, she begins to diminish, which we
call waning; and as she gets older, she resumes the same shapes that she
had while increasing. But it is established by unanimous consent that
she is never seen to be eclipsed except in the middle of her course.

12. But when we said that the sun moves sometimes in the ether,
sometimes in the lower-world, it must be understood that the starry
bodies, considered in relation to the universe, neither set nor rise;
but only appear to do so to our sight on earth, which is suspended by
the motion of some interior spirit, and compared with the immensity of
things is but a little point, which causes the stars in their eternal
order to appear sometimes fixed in heaven, and at others, from the
imperfection of human vision, moving from their places. Let us now
return to our original subject.


§ 1. Even while he was hastening to lead succours to the East, which, as
the concurrent testimony of both spies and deserters assured him, was on
the point of being invaded by the Persians, Constantius was greatly
disturbed by the virtues of Julian, which were now becoming renowned
among all nations, so highly did fame extol his great labours,
achievements, and victories, in having conquered several kingdoms of the
Allemanni, and recovered several towns in Gaul which had been plundered
and destroyed by the barbarians, and having compelled the barbarians
themselves to become subjects and tributaries of the empire.

2. Influenced by these considerations, and fearing lest Julian's
influence should become greater, at the instigation, as it is said, of
the prefect Florentius, he sent Decentius, the tribune and secretary, to
bring away at once the auxiliary troops of the Heruli and Batavi, and
the Celtæ, and the legion called Petulantes,[110] and three hundred
picked men from the other forces; enjoining him to make all speed on the
plea that their presence was required with the army which it was
intended to march at the beginning of spring against the Parthians.

3. Also, Lupicinus was directed to come as commander of these auxiliary
troops with the three hundred picked men and to lose no time, as it was
not known that he had crossed over to Britain; and Sintula, at that time
the superintendent of Julian's stables, was ordered to select the best
men of the Scutarii and Gentiles,[111] and to bring them also to join
the emperor.

4. Julian made no remonstrance, but obeyed these orders, yielding in all
respects to the will of the emperor. But on one point he could not
conceal his feelings nor keep silence: but entreated that those men
might be spared from this hardship who had left their homes on the other
side of the Rhine, and had joined his army on condition of never being
moved into any country beyond the Alps, urging that if this were known,
it might be feared that other volunteers of the barbarian nations, who
had often enlisted in our service on similar conditions, would be
prevented from doing so in future. But he argued in vain.

5. For the tribune, disregarding his complaints, carried out the
commands of the emperor, and having chosen out a band suited for forced
marches, of pre-eminent vigour and activity, set out with them full of
hope of promotion.

6. And as Julian, being in doubt what to do about the rest of the troops
whom he was ordered to send, and revolving all kinds of plans in his
mind, considered that the matter ought to be managed with great care, as
there was on one side the fierceness of the barbarians, and on the other
the authority of the orders he had received (his perplexity being
further increased by the absence of the commander of the cavalry), he
urged the prefect, who had gone some time before to Vienne under the
pretence of procuring corn, but in reality to escape from military
troubles, to return to him.

7. For the prefect bore in mind the substance of a report which he was
suspected to have sent some time before, and which recommended the
withdrawing from the defence of Gaul those troops so renowned for their
valour, and already objects of dread to the barbarians.

8. The prefect, as soon as he had received Julian's letters, informing
him of what had happened, and entreating him to come speedily to him to
aid the republic with his counsels, positively refused, being alarmed
because the letters expressly declared that in any crisis of danger the
prefect ought never to be absent from the general. And it was added that
if he declined to give his aid, Julian himself would, of his own accord,
renounce the emblems of authority, thinking it better to die, if so it
was fated, than to have the ruin of the provinces attributed to him. But
the obstinacy of the prefect prevailed, and he resolutely refused to
comply with the wishes thus reasonably expressed and enforced.

9. But during the delay which arose from the absence of Lupicinus and of
any military movement on the part of the alarmed prefect, Julian,
deprived of all assistance in the way of advice, and being greatly
perplexed, thought it best to hasten the departure of all his troops
from the stations in which they were passing the winter, and to let them
begin their march.

10. When this was known, some one privily threw down a bitter libel near
the standard of the Petulantes legion, which, among other things,
contained these words,--"We are being driven to the farthest parts of
the earth like condemned criminals, and our relations will become slaves
to the Allemanni after we have delivered them from that first captivity
by desperate battles."

11. When this writing was taken to head-quarters and read, Julian,
considering the reasonableness of the complaint, ordered that their
families should go to the East with them, and allowed them the use of
the public wagons for the purpose of moving them. And as it was for some
time doubted which road they should take, he decided, at the suggestion
of the secretary Decentius, that they should go by Paris, where he
himself still was, not having moved.

12. And so it was done. And when they arrived in the suburbs, the
prince, according to his custom, met them, praising those whom he
recognized, and reminding individuals of their gallant deeds, he
congratulated them with courteous words, encouraging them to go
cheerfully to join the emperor, as they would reap the most worthy
rewards of their exertions where power was the greatest and most

13. And to do them the more honour, as they were going to a great
distance, he invited their chiefs to a supper, when he bade them ask
whatever they desired. And they, having been treated with such
liberality, departed, anxious and sorrowful on two accounts, because
cruel fortune was separating them at once from so kind a ruler and from
their native land. And with this sorrowful feeling they retired to their

14. But when night came on they broke out into open discontent, and
their minds being excited, as his own griefs pressed upon each
individual, they had recourse to force, and took up arms, and with a
great outcry thronged to the palace, and surrounding it so as to prevent
any one from escaping, they saluted Julian as emperor with loud
vociferations, insisting vehemently on his coming forth to them; and
though they were compelled to wait till daylight, still, as they would
not depart, at last he did come forth. And when he appeared, they
saluted him emperor with redoubled and unanimous cheers.

15. But he steadily resisted them individually and collectively, at one
time showing himself indignant, at another holding out his hands and
entreating and beseeching them not to sully their numerous victories
with anything unbecoming, and not to let unseasonable rashness and
precipitation awaken materials for discord. At last he appeased them,
and having addressed them mildly, he added--

16. "I beseech you let your anger depart for a while: without any
dissension or attempt at revolution what you wish will easily be
obtained. Since you are so strongly bound by love of your country, and
fear strange lands to which you are unaccustomed, return now to your
homes, certain that you shall not cross the Alps, since you dislike it.
And I will explain the matter to the full satisfaction of the emperor,
who is a man of great wisdom, and will listen to reason."

17. Nevertheless, after his speech was ended, the cries were repeated
with as much vigour and unanimity as ever; and so vehement was the
uproar and zeal, which did not even spare reproaches and threats, that
Julian was compelled to consent. And being lifted up on the shield of
an infantry soldier, and raised up in sight of all, he was saluted as
Augustus with one universal acclamation, and was ordered to produce a
diadem. And when he said that he had never had one, his wife's coronet
or necklace was demanded.

18. And when he protested that it was not fitting for him at his first
accession to be adorned with female ornaments, the frontlet of a horse
was sought for, so that being crowned therewith, he might have some
badge, however obscure, of supreme power. But when he insisted that that
also would be unbecoming, a man named Maurus, afterwards a count, the
same who was defeated in the defile of the Succi, but who was then only
one of the front-rank men of the Petulantes, tore a chain off his own
neck, which he wore in his quality of standard-bearer, and placed it
boldly on Julian's head, who, being thus brought under extreme
compulsion, and seeing that he could not escape the most imminent danger
to his life if he persisted in his resistance, consented to their
wishes, and promised a largesse of five pieces of gold and a pound of
silver to every man.

19. After this Julian felt more anxiety than ever; and, keenly alive to
the future consequences, neither wore his diadem or appeared in public,
nor would he even transact the serious business which pressed upon his
attention, but sought retirement, being full of consternation at the
strangeness of the recent events. This continued till one of the
decurions of the palace (which is an office of dignity) came in great
haste to the standards of the Petulantes and of the Celtic legion, and
in a violent manner exclaimed that it was a monstrous thing that he who
had the day before been by their will declared emperor should have been
privily assassinated.

20. When this was heard, the soldiers, as readily excited by what they
did not know as by what they did, began to brandish their javelins, and
draw their swords, and (as is usual at times of sudden tumult) to flock
from every quarter in haste and disorder to the palace. The sentinels
were alarmed at the uproar, as were the tribunes and the captain of the
guard, and suspecting some treachery from the fickle soldiery, they
fled, fearing sudden death to themselves.

21. When all before them seemed tranquil, the soldiers stood quietly
awhile; and on being asked what was the cause of their sudden and
precipitate movement, they at first hesitated, and then avowing their
alarm for the safety of the emperor, declared they would not retire till
they had been admitted into the council-chamber, and had seen him safe
in his imperial robes.


§ 1. When the news of these events reached the troops, whom we have
spoken of as having already marched under the command of Sintula, they
returned with him quietly to Paris. And an order having been issued that
the next morning they should all assemble in the open space in front of
the camp, Julian advanced among them, and ascended a tribunal more
splendid than usual, surrounded with the eagles, standards, and banners,
and guarded by a strong band of armed soldiers.

2. And after a moment's quiet, while he looked down from his height on
the countenances of those before him, and saw them all full of joy and
alacrity, he kindled their loyalty with a few simple words, as with a

3. "The difficulty of my situation, O brave and faithful champions of
myself and of the republic, who have often with me exposed your lives
for the welfare of the provinces, requires that, since you have now by
your resolute decision raised me, your Cæsar, to the highest of all
dignities, I should briefly set before you the state of affairs, in
order that safe and prudent remedies for their new condition may be

4. "While little more than a youth, as you well know, I was for form's
sake invested with the purple, and by the decision of the emperor was
intrusted to your protection. Since that time I have never forgotten my
resolution of a virtuous life: I have been seen with you as the partner
of all your labours, when, in consequence of the diminution of the
confidence felt in us by the barbarians, terrible disasters fell upon
the empire, our cities being stormed, and countless thousands of men
being slain, and even the little that was left to us being in a very
tottering condition. I think it superfluous to recapitulate how often,
in the depth of winter, beneath a frozen sky, at a season when there is
usually a cessation from war both by land and sea, we have defeated with
heavy loss the Allemanni, previously unconquered.

5. "One circumstance may neither be passed over nor suppressed. On that
glorious day which we saw at Strasburg, which brought perpetual liberty
to Gaul, we together, I throwing myself among the thickly falling darts,
and you being invincible by your vigour and experience, repelled the
enemy who poured upon us like a torrent; slaying them as we did with the
sword, or driving them to be drowned in the river, with very little loss
of our own men, whose funerals we celebrated with glorious panegyrics
rather than with mourning.

6. "It is my belief that after such mighty achievements posterity will
not be silent respecting your services to the republic, in every
country, if you now, in case of any danger or misfortune, vigorously
support with your valour and resolution me whom you have raised to the
lofty dignity of emperor.

7. "But to maintain things in their due order, so as to preserve to
brave men their well-merited rewards and prevent underhand ambition from
forestalling your honours, I make this rule in the honourable presence
of your counsel. That no civil or military officer shall be promoted
from any other consideration than that of his own merits; and he shall
be disgraced who solicits promotion for any one on any other ground."

8. The lower class of soldiers, who had long been deprived of rank or
reward, were encouraged by this speech to entertain better hopes, and
now rising up with a great noise, and beating their shields with their
spears, they with unanimous shouts showed their approbation of his
language and purpose.

9. And that no opportunity, however brief, might be afforded to disturb
so wise an arrangement, the Petulantes and Celtic legion immediately
besought him, on behalf of their commissaries, to give them the
government of any provinces he pleased, and when he refused them, they
retired without being either offended or out of humour.

10. But the very night before the day on which he was thus proclaimed
emperor, Julian had mentioned to his most intimate friends that during
his slumbers some one had appeared to him in a dream, in the form and
habit of the genius of the empire, who uttered these words in a tone of
reproach: "For some time, Julian, have I been secretly watching the door
of thy palace, wishing to increase thy dignity, and I have often retired
as one rejected; but if I am not now admitted, when the opinion of the
many is unanimous, I shall retire discouraged and sorrowful. But lay
this up in the depth of thy heart, that I will dwell with thee no


§ 1. While these transactions were proceeding in Gaul, to the great
anxiety of many, the fierce king of Persia (the advice of Antoninus
being now seconded by the arrival of Craugasius), burning with eagerness
to obtain Mesopotamia, while Constantius with his army was at a
distance, crossed the Tigris in due form with a vast army, and laid
siege to Singara with a thoroughly equipped force, sufficient for the
siege of a town which, in the opinion of the chief commanders of those
regions, was abundantly fortified and supplied.

2. The garrison, as soon as they saw the enemy, while still at a
distance, at once closed their gates, and with great spirit thronged to
the towers and battlements, collecting on them stones and warlike
engines. And then, having made all their preparations, they stood
prepared to repel the advancing host if they should venture to approach
the walls.

3. Therefore the king, when he arrived and found that, though they would
admit some of his nobles near enough to confer with them, he could not,
by any conciliatory language, bend the garrison to his wishes, he gave
one entire day to rest, and then, at daybreak, on a signal made by the
raising of a scarlet flag, the whole city was surrounded by men carrying
ladders, while others began to raise engines; all being protected by
fences and penthouses while seeking a way to assail the foundation of
the walls.

4. Against these attempts the citizens, standing on the lofty
battlements, drove back with stones and every kind of missile the
assailants who were seeking with great ferocity to find an entrance.

5. For many days the struggle continued without any decided result, many
being wounded and killed on both sides. At last, the struggle growing
fiercer, one day on the approach of evening a very heavy battering-ram
was brought forward among other engines, which battered a round tower
with repeated blows, at a point where we mentioned that the city had
been laid open in a former siege.

6. The citizens at once repaired to this point, and a violent conflict
arose in this small space; torches and firebrands were brought from all
quarters to consume this formidable engine, while arrows and bullets
were showered down without cessation on the assailants. But the keenness
of the ram prevailed over every means of defence, digging through the
mortar of the recently cemented stones, which was still moist and

7. And while the contest was thus proceeding with fire and sword, the
tower fell, and a path was opened into the city, the place being
stripped of its defenders, whom the magnitude of the danger had
scattered. The Persian bands raised a wild shout, and without hindrance
filled every quarter of the city. A very few of the inhabitants were
slain, and all the rest, by command of Sapor, were taken alive and
transported to the most distant regions of Persia.

8. There had been assigned for the protection of this city two legions,
the first Flavian and the first Parthian, and a great body of native
troops, as well as a division of auxiliary cavalry which had been shut
up in it through the suddenness of the attack made upon it. All of
these, as I have said, were taken prisoners, without receiving any
assistance from our armies.

9. For the greater part of our army was in tents taking care of Nisibis,
which was at a considerable distance. But even if it had not been so, no
one even in ancient times could easily bring aid to Singara when in
danger, since the whole country around laboured under a scarcity of
water. And although a former generation had placed this fort very
advisedly, to check sudden movements of hostility, yet it was a great
burden to the state, having been several times taken, and always
involving the loss of its garrison.


§ 1. After Singara had fallen, Sapor prudently avoided Nisibis,
recollecting the losses which he had several times sustained before it,
and turned to the right by a circuitous path, hoping either to subdue by
force or to win by bribes the garrison of Bezabde, which its founders
also called Phoenice, and to make himself master of that town, which
is an exceedingly strong fortress, placed on a hill of moderate height,
and close to the banks of the Tigris, having a double wall, as many
places have which from their situation are thought to be especially
exposed. For its defence three legions had been assigned; the second
Flavian, the second Armenian, and the second Parthian, with a large body
of archers of the Zabdiceni, a tribe subject to us, in whose territory
this town was situated.

2. At the beginning of the siege, the king, with an escort of glittering
cuirassiers, himself taller than any of them, rode entirely round the
camp, coming up boldly to the very edge of the fosse, where he was at
once a mark for the unerring bullets of the balistæ, and arrows; but he
was so completely covered with thick scale-armour that he retired

3. Then laying aside his anger, he sent some heralds with all due
solemnity, courteously inviting the besieged to consult the safety of
their lives, and seeing the desperateness of their situation, to put an
end to the siege by a timely surrender; to open their gates and come
forth, presenting themselves as suppliants before the conqueror of

4. When these messengers approached the walls, the garrison spared them
because they had with them some men of noble birth, who had been made
prisoners at Singara, and were well known to the citizens; and out of
pity to them no one shot an arrow, though they would give no reply to
the proposal of peace.

5. Then a truce being made for a day and night, before dawn on the
second day the entire force of the Persians attacked the palisade with
ferocious threats and cries, coming up boldly to the walls, where a
fierce contest ensued, the citizens resisting with great vigour.

6. So that many of the Parthians[112] were wounded, because some of
them carrying ladders, and others wicker screens, advanced as it were
blindfold, and were not spared by our men. For the clouds of arrows flew
thickly, piercing the enemy packed in close order. At last, after sunset
the two sides separated, having suffered about equal loss: and the next
day before dawn the combat was renewed with greater vehemence than
before, the trumpets cheering the men on both sides, and again a
terrible slaughter of each took place, both armies struggling with the
most determined obstinacy.

7. But on the following day both armies by common consent rested from
their terrible exertions, the defenders of the walls and the Persians
being equally dismayed. When a Christian priest made sign by gestures
that he desired to go forth, and having received a promise that he
should be allowed to return in safety, he advanced to the king's tent.

8. When he was permitted to speak, he, with gentle language, urged the
Persians to depart to their own country, affirming that after the losses
each side had sustained they had reason perhaps to fear even greater
disasters in future. But these and other similar arguments were uttered
to no purpose. The fierce madness of the king robbing them of their
effect, as Sapor swore positively that he would never retire till he had
destroyed our camp.

9. Nevertheless a groundless suspicion was whispered against the bishop,
wholly false in my opinion, though supported by the assertions of many,
that he had secretly informed Sapor what part of the wall to attack, as
being internally slight and weak. Though the suspicion derived some
corroboration from the fact that afterwards the engines of the enemy
were carefully and with great exultation directed against the places
which were weakest, or most decayed, as if those who worked them were
acquainted with what parts were most easily penetrable.

10. And although the narrowness of the causeway made the approach to the
walls hard, and though the battering-rams when equipped were brought
forward with great difficulty, from fear of the stones and arrows hurled
upon the assailants by the besieged, still neither the balistæ nor the
scorpions rested a moment, the first shooting javelins, and the latter
hurling showers of stones, and baskets on fire, smeared with pitch and
tar; and as these were perpetually rolled down, the engines halted as if
rooted to the ground, and fiery darts and firebrands well-aimed set them
on fire.

11. Still while this was going on, and numbers were falling on both
sides, the besiegers were the more eager to destroy a town, strong both
by its natural situation and its powerful defences, before the arrival
of winter, thinking it impossible to appease the fury of their king if
they should fail. Therefore neither abundant bloodshed nor the sight of
numbers of their comrades pierced with deadly wounds could deter the
rest from similar audacity.

12. But for a long time, fighting with absolute desperation, they
exposed themselves to imminent danger; while those who worked the
battering-rams were prevented from advancing by the vast weight of
millstones, and all kinds of fiery missiles hurled against them.

13. One battering-ram was higher than the rest, and was covered with
bull's hides wetted, and being therefore safer from any accident of
fire, or from lighted javelins, it led the way in the attacks on the
wall with mighty blows, and with its terrible point it dug into the
joints of the stones till it overthrew the tower. The tower fell with a
mighty crash, and those in it were thrown down with a sudden jerk, and
breaking their limbs, or being buried beneath the ruins, perished by
various and unexpected kinds of death; then, a safer entrance having
been thus found, the multitude of the enemy poured in with their arms.

14. While the war-cry of the Persians sounded in the trembling ears of
the defeated garrison, a fierce battle within the narrower bounds raged
within the walls, while bands of our men and of the enemy fought hand to
hand, being jammed together, with swords drawn on both sides, and no
quarter given.

15. At last the besieged, after making head with mighty exertion against
the destruction which long seemed doubtful, were overwhelmed with the
weight of the countless host which pressed upon them. And the swords of
the furious foe cut down all they could find; children were torn from
their mother's bosom, and the mothers were slain, no one regarding what
he did. Among these mournful scenes the Persians, devoted to plunder,
loaded with every kind of booty, and driving before them a vast
multitude of prisoners, returned in triumph to their tents.

16. But the king, elated with insolence and triumph, having long been
desirous to obtain possession of Phoenice, as a most important
fortress, did not retire till he had repaired in the strongest manner
that portion of the walls which had been shaken, and till he had stocked
it with ample magazines of provisions, and placed in it a garrison of
men noble by birth and eminent for their skill in war. For he feared
(what indeed happened) that the Romans, being indignant at the loss of
this their grand camp, would exert themselves with all their might to
recover it.

17. Then, being full of exultation, and cherishing greater hopes than
ever of gaining whatever he desired, after taking a few forts of small
importance, he prepared to attack Victa, a very ancient fortress,
believed to have been founded by Alexander, the Macedonian, situated on
the most distant border of Mesopotamia, and surrounded with winding
walls full of projecting angles, and so well furnished at all points as
to be almost unassailable.

18. And when he had tried every expedient against it, at one time trying
to bribe the garrison with promises, at another to terrify them with
threats of torture, and employing all kinds of engines such as are used
in sieges, after sustaining more injury than he inflicted, he at last
retired from his unsuccessful enterprise.


§ 1. These were the events of this year between the Tigris and the
Euphrates. And when frequent intelligence of them had reached
Constantius, who was in continual dread of Parthian expeditions, and was
passing the winter at Constantinople, he devoted greater care than ever
to strengthening his frontiers with every kind of warlike equipment. He
collected veterans, and enlisted recruits, and increased the legions
with reinforcements of vigorous youths, who had already repeatedly
signalized their valour in the battles of the eastern campaigns: and
beside these he collected auxiliary forces from among the Scythians by
urgent requests and promises of pay, in order to set out from Thrace in
the spring, and at once march to the disturbed provinces.

2. During the same time Julian, who was wintering at Paris, alarmed at
the prospect of the ultimate issue of the events in that district,
became full of anxiety, feeling sure, after deep consideration, that
Constantius would never give his consent to what had been done in his
case, since he had always disdained him as a person of no importance.

3. Therefore, after much reflection on the somewhat disturbed beginning
which the present novel state of affairs showed, he determined to send
envoys to him to relate all that had taken place; and he gave them
letters setting forth fully what had been done, and what ought to be
done next, supporting his recommendations by proofs.

4. Although in reality he believed that the emperor was already informed
of all, from the report of Decentius, who had returned to him some time
before; and of the chamberlains who had recently gone back from Gaul,
after having brought him some formal orders. And although he was not in
reality vexed at his promotion, still he avoided all arrogant language
in his letters, that he might not appear to have suddenly shaken off his
authority. Now the following was the purport of his letters.

5. "I have at all times been of the same mind, and have adhered to my
original intentions, not less by my conduct than by my promises, as far
as lay in my power, as has been abundantly plain from repeated actions
of mine.

6. "And up to this time, since you created me Cæsar, and exposed me to
the din of war, contented with the power you conferred on me, as a
faithful officer I have sent you continued intelligence of all your
affairs proceeding according to your wishes; never speaking of my own
dangers; though it can easily be proved, that, while the Germans have
been routed in every direction, I have always been the first in all
toils and the last to allow myself any rest.

7. "But allow me to say, that if any violent change has taken place, as
you think, the soldier who has been passing his life in many terrible
wars without reward, has only completed what he has long had under
consideration, being indignant and impatient at being only under a chief
of the second class, as knowing that from a Cæsar no adequate reward for
his continued exertions and frequent victories could possibly be

8. "And while angry at the feeling that he could neither expect
promotion nor annual pay, he had this sudden aggravation to his
discontent, that he, a man used to cold climates, was ordered to march
to the most remote districts of the East, to be separated from his wife
and children, and to be dragged away in want and nakedness. This made
him fiercer than usual; and so the troops one night collected and laid
siege to the palace, saluting with loud and incessant outcries Julian as

9. "I shuddered at their boldness, I confess, and withdrew myself. And
retiring while I could, I sought safety in concealment and disguise--and
as they would not desist, armed, so to say, with the shield of my own
free heart, I came out before them all, thinking that the tumult might
be appeased by authority, or by conciliatory language.

10. "They became wonderfully excited, and proceeded to such lengths
that, when I endeavoured to overcome their pertinacity with my
entreaties, they came close up to me, threatening me with instant death.
At last I was overcome, and arguing with myself that if I were murdered
by them some one else would willingly accept the dignity of emperor, I
consented, hoping thus to pacify their armed violence.

11. "This is the plain account of what has been done; and I entreat you
to listen to it with mildness. Do not believe that anything else is the
truth; and do not listen to malignant men who deal in mischievous
whispers, always eager to seek their own gain by causing ill will
between princes. Banish flattery, which is the nurse of vice, and listen
to the voice of that most excellent of all virtues, justice. And receive
with good faith the equitable condition which I propose, considering in
your mind that such things are for the interest of the Roman state, and
of us also who are united by affection of blood, and by an equality of
superior fortune.

12. "And pardon me. These reasonable requests of mine I am not so
anxious to see carried out, as to see them approved by you as expedient
and proper; and I shall with eagerness follow all your instructions.

13. "What requires to be done I will briefly explain. I will provide you
some Spanish draught horses, and some youths to mingle with the Gentiles
and Scutarii of the Letian tribe, a race of barbarians on the side of
the Rhine; or else of those people which have come over to our side. And
I promise till the end of my life to do all I can to assist you, not
only with gratitude, but with eagerness.

14. "Your clemency will appoint us prefects for our prætorium of known
equity and virtue: the appointment of the ordinary judges, and the
promotion of the military officers it is fair should be left to me; as
also the selection of my guard. For it would be unreasonable, when it is
possible to be guarded against, that those persons should be placed
about an emperor of whose manners and inclinations he is ignorant.

15. "These things I can further assure you of positively. The Gauls will
neither of their own accord, nor by any amount of compulsion, be brought
to send recruits to foreign and distant countries, since they have been
long harassed by protracted annoyances and heavy disasters, lest the
youth of the nation should be destroyed, and the whole people, while
recollecting their past sufferings, should abandon themselves to despair
for the future.

16. "Nor is it fit to seek from hence assistance against the Parthians,
when even now the attempts of the barbarians against this land are not
brought to an end, and while, if you will suffer me to tell the truth,
these provinces are still exposed to continual dangers on being deprived
of all foreign or adequate assistance.

17. "In speaking thus, I do think I have written to you in a manner
suited to the interests of the state, both in my demands and my
entreaties. For I well know, not to speak in a lofty tone, though such
might not misbecome an emperor, what wretched states of affairs, even
when utterly desperate and given up, have been before now retrieved and
re-established by the agreement of princes, each yielding reciprocally
to one another. While it is also plain from the example of our
ancestors, that rulers who acknowledge and act upon such principles do
somehow ever find the means of living prosperously and happily, and
leave behind them to the latest posterity an enviable fame."

18. To these letters he added others of a more secret purport, to be
given privily to Constantius, in which he blamed and reproached him;
though their exact tenor was not fit to be known, nor if known, fit to
be divulged to the public.

19. For the office of delivering these letters, men of great dignity
were chosen; namely, Pentadius, the master of the ceremonies, and
Eutherius, at that time the principal chamberlain; who were charged,
after they had delivered the letters, to relate what they had seen,
without suppressing anything; and to take their own measures boldly on
all future emergencies which might arise.

20. In the mean time the flight of Florentius, the prefect, aggravated
the envy with which these circumstances were regarded. For he, as if he
foresaw the commotion likely to arise, as might be gathered from general
conversation, from the act of sending for the troops, had departed for
Vienne (being also desirous to get out of the way of Julian, whom he had
often slandered), pretending to be compelled to this journey for the
sake of providing supplies for the army.

21. Afterwards, when he had heard of Julian's being raised to the
dignity of emperor, being greatly alarmed, and giving up almost all hope
of saving his life, he availed himself of his distance from Julian to
escape from the evils which he suspected; and leaving behind him all his
family, he proceeded by slow journeys to Constantius; and to prove his
own innocence he brought forward many charges of rebellion against

22. And after his departure, Julian, adopting wise measures, and wishing
it to be known that, even if he had him in his power, he would have
spared him, allowed his relations to take with them all their property,
and even granted them the use of the public conveyances to retire with
safety to the East.


§ 1. The envoys whom I have mentioned took equal care to discharge their
orders; but while eager to pursue their journey they were unjustly
detained by some of the superior magistrates on their road; and having
been long and vexatiously delayed in Italy and Illyricum, they at last
passed the Bosphorus, and advancing by slow journeys, they found
Constantius still staying at Cæsarea in Cappadocia, a town formerly
known as Mazaca, admirably situated at the foot of Mount Argæus, and of
high reputation.

2. Being admitted to the presence, they received permission to present
their letters; but when they were read the emperor became immoderately
angry, and looking askance at them so as to make them fear for their
lives, he ordered them to be gone without asking them any questions or
permitting them to speak.

3. But in spite of his anger he was greatly perplexed to decide whether
to move those troops whom he could trust against the Persians, or
against Julian; and while he was hesitating, and long balancing between
the two plans, he yielded to the useful advice of some of his
counsellors, and ordered the army to march to the East.

4. Immediately also he dismissed the envoys, and ordered his quæstor
Leonas to go with all speed with letters from him to Julian; in which he
asserted that he himself would permit no innovators, and recommended
Julian, if he had any regard for his own safety or that of his
relations, to lay aside his arrogance, and resume the rank of Cæsar.

5. And, in order to alarm him by the magnitude of his preparations, as
if he really was possessed of great power, he appointed Nebridius, who
was at that time Julian's quæstor, to succeed Florentius as prefect of
the prætorium, and made Felix the secretary, master of the ceremonies,
with several other appointments. Gumoharius, the commander of the heavy
infantry, he had already appointed to succeed Lupicinus, before any of
these events were known.

6. Accordingly Leonas reached Paris, and was there received as an
honourable and discreet man; and the next day, when Julian had proceeded
into the plain in front of the camp with a great multitude of soldiers
and common people, which he had ordered to assemble on purpose, he
mounted a tribune, in order from that high position to be more
conspicuous, and desired Leonas to present his letters; and when he had
opened the edict which had been sent, and began to read it, as soon as
he arrived at the passage that Constantius disapproved of all that had
been done, and desired Julian to be content with the power of a Cæsar, a
terrible shout was raised on all sides,

7. "Julian emperor, as has been decreed by the authority of the
province, of the army, and of the republic; which is indeed
re-established, but which still dreads the renewed attacks of the

8. Leonas heard this, and, after receiving letters from Julian, stating
what had occurred, was dismissed in safety: the only one of the
emperor's appointments which was allowed to take effect was that of
Nebridius, which Julian in his letters had plainly said would be in
accordance with his wishes. For he himself had some time before
appointed Anatolius to be master of the ceremonies, having been formerly
his private secretary; and he had also made such other appointments as
seemed useful and safe.

9. And since, while matters were going on in this matter, Lupicinus, as
being a proud and arrogant man, was an object of fear, though absent and
still in Britain; and since there was a suspicion that if he heard of
these occurrences while on the other side of the channel, he might cause
disorders in the island, a secretary was sent to Boulogne to take care
that no one should be allowed to cross; and as that was contrived,
Lupicinus returned without hearing of any of these matters, and so had
no opportunity of giving trouble.


§ 1. But Julian, being gratified at his increase of rank, and at the
confidence of the soldiers in him, not to let his good fortune cool, or
to give any colour for charging him with inactivity or indolence, after
he had sent his envoys to Constantius, marched to the frontier of the
province of lower Germany; and having with him all the force which the
business in hand demanded, he approached the town of Santon.[113]

2. Then crossing the Rhine, he suddenly entered the district belonging
to a Frank tribe, called the Attuarii, men of a turbulent character, who
at that very moment were licentiously plundering the districts of Gaul.
He attacked them unexpectedly while they were apprehensive of no hostile
measures, but were reposing in fancied security, relying on the
ruggedness and difficulty of the roads which led into their country, and
which no prince within their recollection had ever penetrated. He,
however, easily surmounted all difficulties, and having put many to the
sword and taken many prisoners, he granted the survivors peace at their
request, thinking such a course best for their neighbours.

3. Then with equal celerity he repassed the river, and examining
carefully the state of the garrisons on the frontier, and putting them
in a proper state, he marched towards Basle; and having recovered the
places which the barbarians had taken and still retained in their hands,
and having carefully strengthened them, he went to Vienne, passing
through Besançon, and there took up his winter quarters.


§ 1. These were the events which took place in Gaul, and while they were
thus conducted with prudence and good fortune, Constantius, having
summoned Arsaces, king of Armenia, and having received him with great
courtesy, advised and exhorted him to continue friendly and faithful to

2. For he had heard that the king of Persia had often tried by deceits
and threats, and all kinds of stratagems, to induce him to forsake the
Roman alliance and join his party.

3. But he, vowing with many oaths that he would rather lose his life
than change his opinion, received ample rewards, and returned to his
kingdom with the retinue which he brought with him; and never ventured
at any subsequent time to break any of his promises, being bound by
many ties of gratitude to Constantius. The strongest tie of all being
that the emperor had given him for a wife, Olympias, the daughter of
Abladius, formerly prefect of the prætorium, who had once been betrothed
to his own brother Constans.

4. And when Arsaces had been dismissed, Constantius left Cappadocia, and
going by Melitina, a town of the lesser Armenia, and Lacotene, and
Samosata, he crossed the Euphrates and arrived at Edessa. Stopping some
time in each town, while waiting for divisions of soldiers who were
flocking in from all quarters, and for sufficient supplies of
provisions. And after the autumnal equinox, he proceeded onwards on his
way to Amida.

5. When he approached the walls of that town, and saw everything buried
in ashes, he groaned and wept, recollecting what sufferings the wretched
city had suffered. And Ursulus, the treasurer, who happened to be
present, was moved with indignation, and exclaimed, "Behold the courage
with which cities are defended by our soldiers; men for whose pay the
whole wealth of the empire is exhausted." This bitter speech the crowd
of soldiers afterwards recollected at Chalcedon, when they rose up and
destroyed him.

6. Then proceeding onward in close column, he reached Bezabde, and
having fixed his camp there, and fortified it with a rampart and a deep
fosse, as he took a long ride round the camp, he satisfied himself, by
the account which he received from several persons, that those places in
the walls which the carelessness of ancient times had allowed to become
decayed, had been repaired so as to be stronger than ever.

7. And, not to omit anything which was necessary to do before the heat
of the contest was renewed, he sent prudent men to the garrison to offer
them two conditions; either to withdraw to their own country, giving up
what did not belong to them, without causing bloodshed by resistance, or
else to become subjects of the Romans, in which case they should receive
rank and rewards. But when they, with native obstinacy, resisted the
demands as became men of noble birth, who had been hardened by dangers
and labours, everything was prepared for the siege.

8. Therefore the soldiers with alacrity, in dense order, and cheered by
the sound of trumpets, attacked every side of the town; and the legions,
being protected by various kinds of defences, advanced in safety,
endeavouring by slow degrees to overthrow the walls; and because all
kinds of missiles were poured down upon them, which disjoined the union
of their shields, they fell back, the signal for a retreat being given.

9. Then a truce was agreed upon for one day; but the day after, having
protected themselves more skilfully, they again raised their war-cry,
and tried on every side to scale the walls. And although the garrison,
having stretched cloths before them not to be distinguished, lay
concealed within the walls; still, as often as necessity required, they
boldly put out their arms and hurled down stones and javelins on their
assailants below.

10. And while the wicker penthouses were advanced boldly and brought
close to the walls, the besieged dropped upon them heavy casks and
millstones, and fragments of pillars, by the overpowering weight of
which the assailants were crushed, their defences torn to pieces, and
wide openings made in them, so that they incurred terrible dangers, and
were again forced to retreat.

11. Therefore, on the tenth day from the beginning of the siege, when
the confidence of our men began to fill the town with alarm, we
determined on bringing up a vast battering-ram, which, after having
destroyed Antioch with it sometime before, the Persians had left at
Carrhæ; and as soon as that appeared, and was begun to be skilfully set
up, it cowed the spirits of the besieged, so that they were almost on
the point of surrendering, when they again plucked up courage and
prepared means for resisting this engine.

12. From this time neither their courage nor their ingenuity failed; for
as the ram was old, and it had been taken to pieces for the facility of
transporting it, so while it was being put together again, it was
attacked with great exertions and vigour by the garrison, and defended
with equal valour and firmness by the besiegers; and engines hurling
showers of stones, and slings, and missiles of all sorts, slew numbers
on each side. Meantime, high mounds rose up with speedy growth; and the
siege grew fiercer and sterner daily; many of our men being slain
because, fighting as they were under the eye of the emperor, and eager
for reward, they took off their helmets in order to be the more easily
recognized, and so with bare heads, were an easy mark for the skilful
archers of the enemy.

13. The days and nights being alike spent in watching, made each side
the more careful; and the Persians, being alarmed at the vast height to
which the mounds were now carried, and at the enormous ram, which was
accompanied by others of smaller size, made great exertions to burn
them, and kept continually shooting firebrands and incendiary missiles
at them; but their labour was vain, because the chief part of them was
covered with wet skins and cloths, and some parts also had been steeped
in alum, so that the fire might fall harmless upon them.

14. But the Romans, driving these rams on with great courage, although
they had difficulty in defending themselves, disregarded danger, however
imminent, in the hope of making themselves masters of the town.

15. And on the other hand, when the enormous ram was brought against the
tower to which it was applied, as if it could at once throw it down, the
garrison, by a clever contrivance, entangled its projecting iron head,
which in shape was like that of a ram, with long cords on both sides, to
prevent its being drawn back and then driven forward with great force,
and to hinder it from making any serious impression on the walls by
repeated blows; and meanwhile they poured on it burning pitch, and for a
long time these engines were fixed at the point to which they had been
advanced, and exposed to all the stones and javelins which were hurled
from the walls.

16. By this time the mounds were raised to a considerable height, and
the garrison, thinking that unless they used extraordinary vigilance
their destruction must be at hand, resorted to extreme audacity; and
making an unexpected sally from the gates, they attacked our front rank,
and with all their might hurled firebrands and iron braziers loaded with
fire against the rams.

17. But after a fierce but undecided conflict, the bulk of them were
driven within the walls, without having succeeded in their attempt; and
presently the battlements were attacked from the mounds which the Romans
had raised, with arrows and slings and lighted javelins, which flew
over the roofs of the towers, but did no harm, means having been
prepared to extinguish any flames.

18. And as the ranks on both sides became thinner, and the Persians were
now reduced to extremities unless some aid could be found, they prepared
with redoubled energy a fresh sally from the camp: accordingly, they
made a sudden sally, supported by increased numbers, and among the armed
men were many bearing torches, and iron baskets full of fire, and
faggots; and all kinds of things best adapted for setting fire to the
works of the besiegers were hurled against them.

19. And because the dense clouds of smoke obscured the sight, when the
trumpet gave the signal for battle, the legions came up with quick step;
and as the eagerness of the conflict grew hotter, after they had
engaged, suddenly all the engines, except the great ram, caught fire
from the flames which were hurled at them; but the ropes which held the
chief ram were broken asunder, and that the vigorous efforts of some
gallant men saved, when it was half burnt.

20. When the darkness of night terminated the combat, only a short time
was allowed to the soldiers for rest; but when they had been refreshed
by a little food and sleep, they were awakened by their captains, and
ordered to remove their works away from the walls of the town, and
prepare to fight at closer quarters from the lofty mounds which were
untouched by the flames, and now commanded the walls. And to drive the
defenders from the walls, on the summit of the mounds they stationed two
balistæ, in fear of which they thought that none of the enemy would
venture even to look out.

21. After having taken these efficacious measures, a triple line of our
men, having a more threatening aspect than usual from the nodding cones
of their helmets (many of them also bearing ladders), attempted about
twilight to scale the walls. Arms clashed and trumpets sounded, and both
sides fought with equal boldness and ardour. The Romans, extending their
lines more widely, when they saw the Persians hiding from fear of the
engines which had been stationed on the mounds, battered the wall with
their ram, and with spades, and axes, and levers, and ladders, pressed
fiercely on, while missiles from each side flew without ceasing.

22. But the Persians were especially pressed by the various missiles
shot from the balistæ, which, from the artificial mounds, came down upon
them in torrents; and having become desperate, they rushed on, fearless
of death, and distributing their force as if at the last extremity, they
left some to guard the walls, while the rest, secretly opening a postern
gate, rushed forth valiantly with drawn swords, followed by others who
carried concealed fire.

23. And while the Romans at one moment were pressing on those who
retreated, at another receiving the assault of those who attacked them,
those who carried the fire crept round by a circuitous path, and pushed
the burning coals in among the interstices of one of the mounds, which
was made up of branches of trees, and rushes, and bundles of reeds. This
soon caught fire and was utterly destroyed, the soldiers themselves
having great difficulty in escaping and saving their engines.

24. But when the approach of evening broke off the conflict, and the two
sides separated to snatch a brief repose, the emperor, after due
reflection, resolved to change his plans. Although many reasons of great
urgency pressed him to force on the destruction of Phoenice, as of a
fortress which would prove an impregnable barrier to the inroads of the
enemy, yet the lateness of the season was an objection to persevering
any longer. He determined, therefore, while he preserved his position,
to carry on the siege for the future by slight skirmishes, thinking that
the Persians would be forced to surrender from want of provisions,
which, however, turned out very different.

25. For while the conflict was proceeding sharply, the heavens became
moist, and watery clouds appeared with threatening darkness; and
presently the ground got so wet from continual rain, that the whole
country was changed into an adhesive mud (for the soil is naturally
rich), and every plan was thrown into confusion; meantime, thunder with
incessant crashes and ceaseless lightning filled men's minds with fear.

26. To these portents were added continual rainbows. A short explanation
will serve to show how these appearances are formed. The vapours of the
earth becoming warmer, and the watery particles gathering in clouds, and
thence being dispersed in spray, and made brilliant by the fusion of
rays, turn upwards towards the fiery orb of the sun and form a rainbow,
which sweeps round with a large curve because it is spread over our
world, which physical investigations place on the moiety of a sphere.

27. Its appearance, as far as mortal sight can discern, is, in the first
line yellow, in the second tawny, in the third scarlet, in the fourth
purple, and in the last a mixture of blue and green.

28. And it is so tempered with this mixed beauty, as mankind believe,
because its first portion is discerned in a thin diluted state, of the
same colour as the air which surrounds it; the next line is tawny, that
is a somewhat richer colour than yellow; the third is scarlet, because
it is opposite to the bright rays of the sun, and so pumps up and
appropriates, if one may so say, the most subtle portion of its beams;
the fourth is purple, because the density of the spray by which the
splendour of the sun's rays is quenched shines between, and so it
assumes a colour near that of flame; and as that colour is the more
diffused, it shades off into blue and green.

29. Others think that the rainbow is caused by the rays of the sun
becoming infused into some dense cloud, and pouring into it a liquid
light, which, as it can find no exit, falls back upon itself, and shines
the more brilliantly because of a kind of attrition; and receives those
hues which are most akin to white from the sun above; its green hues
from the cloud under which it lies, as often happens in the sea, where
the waters which beat upon the shore are white, and those farther from
the land, which, as being so, are more free from any admixture, are

30. And since it is an indication of a change in the atmosphere (as we
have already said), when in a clear sky sudden masses of clouds appear,
or on the other hand, when the sky changed from a gloomy look to a
joyful serenity, therefore we often read in the poets that Iris is sent
from heaven when a change is required in the condition of any present
affairs. There are various other opinions which it would be superfluous
now to enumerate, since my narration must hasten back to the point from
which it digressed.

31. By these and similar events the emperor was kept wavering between
hope and fear, as the severity of winter was increasing, and he
suspected ambuscades in the country, which was destitute of roads;
fearing also, among other things, the discontent of the exasperated
soldiers. And it further goaded his unquiet spirit to return balked of
his purpose, after, as it were, the door of the rich mansion was opened
to him.

32. However, giving up his enterprise as fruitless, he returned into the
unwelcome Syria, to winter at Antioch, after having suffered a
succession of melancholy disasters. For, as if some unfriendly
constellation so governed events, Constantius himself, while warring
with the Persians, was always attended by adverse fortune; on which
account he hoped at least to gain victories by means of his generals;
and this, as we remember, usually happened.

[109] "The minute interval which may be interposed between the _hyeme
adultâ_ and the _primo vere_ of Ammianus, instead of allowing a
sufficient space for a march of three thousand miles, would render the
orders of Constantius as extravagant as they were unjust; the troops of
Gaul could not have reached Syria till the end of autumn. The memory of
Ammianus must have been inaccurate, and his language
incorrect."--Gibbon, c. xxii.

[110] According to Erdfurt, this legion was so named from its
contumacious and mutinous disposition.

[111] The Gentiles were body-guards of the emperor, or of the Cæsar, of
barbarian extraction, whether Scythians, Goths, Franks, Germans, &c.

[112] It may be remarked that Ammianus continually uses the words
Persian and Parthian as synonymous.

[113] Santon is near Cleves.



     I. The Emperor Julian at Vienne learns that Constantius is about to
     die--How he knew it--An essay on the different arts of learning the
     future.--II. Julian at Vienne feigns to be a Christian in order to
     conciliate the multitude, and on a day of festival worships God
     among the Christians.--III. Vadomarius, king of the Allemanni,
     breaking his treaty, lays waste our frontier, and slays Count
     Libino, with a few of his men.--IV. Julian having intercepted
     letters of Vadomarius to the Emperor Constantius, contrives to have
     him seized at a banquet; and having slain some of the Allemanni,
     and compelled others to surrender, grants the rest peace at their
     entreaty.--Julian harangues his soldiers, and makes them all
     promise obedience to him, intending to make war upon the Emperor
     Constantius.--VI. Constantius marries Faustina--Increases his army
     by fresh levies; gains over the kings of Armenia and Hiberia by
     gifts.--VII. Constantius, at that time at Antioch, retains Africa
     in his power by means of his secretary Gaudentius; crosses the
     Euphrates, and moves with his army upon Edessa.--VIII. After
     settling the affairs of Gaul, Julian marches to the Danube, sending
     on before a part of his army through Italy and the Tyrol.--IX.
     Taurus and Florentius, consuls, and prefects of the prætorium, fly
     at the approach of Julian, the one through Illyricum, the other
     through Italy--Lucillianus, the commander of the cavalry, who was
     preparing to resist Julian, is crushed by him.--X. Julian receives
     the allegiance of Sirmium, the capital of Western Illyricum, and of
     its garrison--Occupies the country of the Sacci, and writes to the
     senate letters of complaint against Constantius.--XI. Two of the
     legions of Constantius which at Sirmium had passed over to Julian
     are sent by him into Gaul, and occupy Aquileia, with the consent of
     the citizens, who, however, shut their gates against the troops of
     Julian.--XII. Aquileia takes the part of Constantius, and is
     besieged, but presently, when news of his death arrives, surrenders
     to Julian.--XIII. Sapor leads back his army home, because the
     auspices forbid war--Constantius, intending to march against
     Julian, harangues his soldiers.--XIV. Omens of the death of
     Constantius.--XV. Constantius dies at Mopsucrenæ in Cilicia.--XVI.
     His virtues and vices.


A.D. 360.

§ 1. While Constantius was detained by this perplexing war beyond the
Euphrates, Julian at Vienne devoted his days and nights to forming plans
for the future, as far as his limited resources would allow; being in
great suspense, and continually doubting whether to try every expedient
to win Constantius over to friendship, or to anticipate his attack, with
the view of alarming him.

2. And while anxiously considering these points he feared him, as likely
to be in the one case a cruel friend, while in the other case he
recollected that he had always been successful in civil disturbances.
Above all things his anxiety was increased by the example of his brother
Gallus, who had been betrayed by his own want of caution and the
perjured deceit of certain individuals.

3. Nevertheless he often raised himself to ideas of energetic action,
thinking it safest to show himself as an avowed enemy to him whose
movements he could, as a prudent man, judge of only from his past
actions, in order not to be entrapped by secret snares founded on
pretended friendship.

4. Therefore, paying little attention to the letters which Constantius
had sent by Leonas, and admitting none of his appointments with the
exception of that of Nebridius, he now celebrated the
Quinquennalia[114] as emperor, and wore a splendid diadem inlaid with
precious stones, though when first entering on that power he had worn
but a paltry-looking crown like that of a president of the public games.

5. At this time also he sent the body of his wife Helen, recently
deceased, to Rome, to be buried in the suburb on the road to Nomentum,
where also Constantina, his sister-in-law, the wife of Gallus, had been

6. His desire to march against Constantius, now that Gaul was
tranquillized, was inflamed by the belief which he had adopted from many
omens (in the interpretation of which he had great skill), and from
dreams that the emperor would soon die.

7. And since malignant people have attributed to this prince, so erudite
and so eager to acquire all knowledge, wicked practices for the purpose
of learning future events, we may here briefly point out how this
important branch of learning may be acquired by a wise man.

8. The spirit which directs all the elements, and which at all times and
throughout all places exercises its activity by the movement of these
eternal bodies, can communicate to us the capacity of foreseeing the
future by the sciences which we attain through various kinds of
discipline. And the ruling powers, when properly propitiated, as from
everlasting springs, supply mankind with words of prophecy, over which
the deity of Themis is said to preside, and which, because she teaches
men to know what has been settled for the future by the law of Fate, has
received that name from the Greek word τεθειμένα ("fixed"),
and has been placed by ancient theologians in the bed and on the throne
of Jupiter, who gives life to all the world.

9. Auguries and auspices are not collected from the will of birds who
are themselves ignorant of the future (for there is no one so silly as
to say they understand it); but God directs the flight of birds, so that
the sound of their beaks, or the motion of their feathers, whether quiet
or disturbed, indicates the character of the future. For the kindness
of the deity, whether it be that men deserve it, or that he is touched
by affection for them, likes by these acts to give information of what
is impending.

10. Again, those who attend to the prophetic entrails of cattle, which
often take all kinds of shapes, learn from them what happens. Of this
practice a man called Tages was the inventor, who, as is reported, was
certainly seen to rise up out of the earth in the district of Etruria.

11. Men too, when their hearts are in a state of excitement, foretell
the future, but then they are speaking under divine inspiration. For the
sun, which is, as natural philosophers say, the mind of the world, and
which scatters our minds among us as sparks proceeding from itself, when
it has inflamed them with more than usual vehemence, renders them
conscious of the future. From which the Sibyls often say they are
burning and fired by a vast power of flames; and with reference to these
cases the sound of voices, various signs, thunder, lightning,
thunderbolts, and falling stars, have a great significance.

12. But the belief in dreams would be strong and undoubted if the
interpreters of them were never deceived; and sometimes, as Aristotle
asserts, they are fixed and stable when the eye of the person, being
soundly asleep, turns neither way, but looks straight forward.

13. And because the ignorance of the vulgar often talks loudly, though
ignorantly, against these ideas, asking why, if there were any faculty
of foreseeing the future, one man should be ignorant that he would be
killed in battle, or another that he would meet with some misfortune,
and so on; it will be enough to reply that sometimes a grammarian has
spoken incorrectly, or a musician has sung out of tune, or a physician
been ignorant of the proper remedy for a disease; but these facts do not
disprove the existence of the sciences of grammar, music, or medicine.

14. So that Tully is right in this as well as other sayings of his, when
he says, "Signs of future events are shown by the gods; if any one
mistakes them he errs, not because of the nature of the gods, but
because of the conjectures of men." But lest this discussion, running on
this point beyond the goal, as the proverb is, should disgust the
reader, we will now return to relate what follows.


§ 1. While Julian, still with the rank of Cæsar only, was at Paris one
day, exercising himself in the camp-field, and moving his shield in
various directions, the joints by which it was fastened gave way, and
the handle alone remained in his hand, which he still held firmly, and
when those present were alarmed, thinking it a bad omen, he said, "Let
no one be alarmed, I still hold firmly what I had before."

2. And again, when one day after a slight dinner, he was sleeping at
Vienne, in the middle of the darkness of the night a figure of unusual
splendour appeared to him, and when he was all but awake, repeated to
him the following heroic verses, reciting them over and over again;
which he believed, so that he felt sure that no ill fortune remained for

  "When Jove has passed the water-carrier's sign,
  And Saturn's light, for five-and-twenty days
  Has lightened up the maid; the king divine
  Of Asia's land shall enter on the ways
  That painful lead to death and Styx's gloomy maze."

3. Therefore in the mean time he made no change in the existing
condition of affairs, but arranged everything that occurred with a quiet
and easy mind, gradually strengthening himself, in order to make the
increase of his power correspond with the increase of his dignity.

4. And in order, without any hindrance, to conciliate the good-will of
all men, he pretended to adhere to the Christian religion, which in fact
he had long since secretly abandoned, though very few were aware of his
private opinions, giving up his whole attention to soothsaying and
divination, and the other arts which have always been practised by the
worshippers of the gods.

5. But to conceal this for a while, on the day of the festival at the
beginning of January, which the Christians call Epiphany, he went into
their church, and offered solemn public prayer to their God.


§ 1. While these events were proceeding, and spring was coming on,
Julian was suddenly smitten with grief and sorrow by unexpected
intelligence. For he learnt that the Allemanni had poured forth from
the district of Vadomarius, in which quarter, after the treaty which had
been made with him, no troubles had been anticipated, and were laying
waste the borders of the Tyrol, pouring their predatory hands over the
whole frontier, and leaving nothing unravaged.

2. He feared that if this were passed over it might rekindle the flames
of war; and so at once sent a count named Libino, with the Celtic and
Petulantes legions, who were in winter quarters with him, to put a
decided and immediate end to this affair.

3. Libino marched with speed, and arrived at Seckingen; but was seen
while at a distance by the barbarians, who had already hidden themselves
in the valleys with the intention of giving him battle. His soldiers
were inferior in number, but very eager for battle; and he, after
haranguing them, rashly attacked the Germans, and at the very beginning
of the fight was slain among the first. At his death the confidence of
the barbarians increased, while the Romans were excited to avenge their
general; and so the conflict proceeded with great obstinacy, but our men
were overpowered by numbers, though their loss in killed and wounded was
but small.

4. Constantius, as has been related, had made peace with this
Vadomarius, and his brother Gundomadus, who was also a king. And when
afterwards Gundomadus died, thinking that Vadomarius would be faithful
to him, and a silent and vigorous executor of his secret orders (if one
may believe what is only report), he gave him directions by letter to
harass the countries on his borders, as if he had broken off the treaty
of peace, in order to keep Julian, through his fears of him, from ever
abandoning the protection of Gaul.

5. In obedience to these directions, it is fair to believe that
Vadomarius committed this and other similar actions; being a man from
his earliest youth marvellously skilled in artifice and deceit, as he
afterwards showed when he enjoyed the dukedom of Phoenice.[115]

6. But now, being discovered, he desisted from his hostilities. For one
of his secretaries, whom he had sent to Constantius, was taken prisoner
by Julian's outposts, and when he was searched to see if he was the
bearer of anything, a letter was found on him, which contained these
words among others, "Your Cæsar is not submissive." But when he wrote to
Julian he always addressed him as lord, and emperor, and god.


§ 1. These affairs were full of danger and doubt; and Julian considering
them likely to lead to absolute destruction, bent all his mind to the
one object of seizing Vadomarius unawares, through the rapidity of his
movements, in order to secure his own safety and that of the provinces.
And the plan which he decided on was this.

2. He sent to those districts Philagrius, one of his secretaries,
afterwards count of the East, in whose proved prudence and fidelity he
could thoroughly rely; and besides a general authority to act as he
could upon emergencies, he gave him also a paper signed by himself,
which he bade him not to open nor read unless Vadomarius appeared on the
western side of the Rhine.

3. Philagrius went as he was ordered, and while he was in that district
busying himself with various arrangements, Vadomarius crossed the river,
as if he had nothing to fear, in a time of profound peace, and
pretending to know of nothing having been done contrary to treaty, when
he saw the commander of the troops who were stationed there, made him a
short customary speech, and to remove all suspicion, of his own accord
promised to come to a banquet to which Philagrius also had been invited.

4. As soon as Philagrius arrived, when he saw the king, he recollected
Julian's words, and pretending some serious and urgent business,
returned to his lodging, where having read the paper intrusted to him,
and learnt what he was to do, he immediately returned and took his seat
among the rest.

5. But when the banquet was over he boldly arrested Vadomarius, and gave
him to the commander of the forces, to be kept in strict custody in the
camp, reading to him the commands he had received; but as nothing was
mentioned about Vadomarius's retinue, he ordered them to return to their
own country.

6. But the king was afterwards conducted to Julian's camp, and
despaired of pardon when he heard that his secretary had been taken, and
the letters which he had written to Constantius read; he was however not
even reproached by Julian, but merely sent off to Spain, as it was an
object of great importance that, while Julian was absent from Gaul, this
ferocious man should not be able to throw into confusion the provinces
which had been tranquillized with such great difficulty.

7. Julian, being much elated at this occurrence, since the king, whom he
feared to leave behind him while at a distance, had been caught more
quickly than he expected, without delay prepared to attack the
barbarians who, as we have just related, had slain Count Libino and some
of his soldiers in battle.

8. And to prevent any rumour of his approach giving them warning to
retire to remoter districts, he passed the Rhine by night with great
silence, with some of the most rapid of his auxiliary bands; and so came
upon them while fearing nothing of the sort. And he at once attacked
them the moment they were first roused by the sound of enemies, and
while still examining their swords and javelins; some he slew, some he
took prisoners, who sued for mercy and offered to surrender their booty;
to the rest who remained and implored peace, and promised to be quiet
for the future, he granted peace.


§ 1. While these transactions were carried on in this spirited manner,
Julian, considering to what great internal divisions his conduct had
given rise, and that nothing is so advantageous for the success of
sudden enterprise as celerity of action, saw with his usual sagacity
that if he openly avowed his revolt from the emperor, he should be
safer; and feeling uncertain of the fidelity of the soldiers, having
offered secret propitiatory sacrifices to Bellona, he summoned the army
by sound of trumpet to an assembly, and standing on a tribune built of
stone, with every appearance of confidence in his manner, he spoke thus
with a voice unusually loud:--

2. "I imagine that you, my gallant comrades, exalted by the greatness of
your own achievements, have long been silently expecting this meeting,
in order to form a previous judgment of, and to take wise measures
against the events which may be expected. For soldiers united by
glorious actions ought to hear rather than speak; nor ought a commander
of proved justice to think anything but what is worthy of praise and
approbation. That therefore I may explain to you what I propose, I
entreat you to listen favourably to what I will briefly set before you.

3. "From my earliest year, by the will of God, I have been placed among
you, with whom I have crushed the incessant inroads of the Franks and
Allemanni, and checked the endless licentiousness of their ravages; by
our united vigour we have opened the Rhine to the Roman armies, whenever
they choose to cross it; standing immovable against reports, as well as
against the violent attacks of powerful nations, because I trusted to
the invincibility of your valour.

4. "Gaul, which has beheld our labours, and which, after much slaughter
and many periods of protracted and severe disasters, is at last replaced
in a healthy state, will for ever bear witness to posterity of our

5. "But now since, constrained both by the authority of your judgment,
and also by the necessity of the case, I have been raised to the rank of
emperor, under the favour of God and of you, I aim at still greater
things, if fortune should smile on my undertakings. Boasting at least
that I have secured to the army, whose equity and mighty exploits are so
renowned, a moderate and merciful chief in time of peace, and in war a
prudent and wary leader against the combined forces of the barbarians.

6. "In order therefore that by the cordial unanimity of our opinions we
may prevent ill fortune by anticipating it, I beg you to follow my
counsel, salutary, as I think it, since the state of our affairs
corresponds to the purity of my intentions and wishes. And while the
legions of Illyricum are occupied by no greater force than usual, let us
occupy the further frontier of Dacia; and then take counsel from our
success what is to be done next.

7. "But as brave generals, I entreat you to promise with an oath that
you will adhere to me with unanimity and fidelity; while I will give my
customary careful attention to prevent anything from being done rashly
or carelessly; and if any one requires it, will pledge my own unsullied
honour that I will never attempt nor think of anything but what is for
the common good.

8 "This especially I request and beseech you to observe, that none of
you let any impulse of sudden ardour lead you to inflict injury on any
private individual; recollecting that our greatest renown is not derived
so much from the numberless defeats of the enemy as from the safety of
the provinces, and their freedom from injury, which is celebrated as an
eminent example of our virtue."

9. The emperor's speech was approved as though it had been the voice of
an oracle, and the whole assembly was greatly excited, and being eager
for a change, they all with one consent raised a tremendous shout, and
beat their shields with a violent crash, calling him a great and noble
general, and, as had been proved, a fortunate conqueror and king.

10. And being all ordered solemnly to swear fidelity to him, they put
their swords to their throats with terrible curses, and took the oath in
the prescribed form, that for him they would undergo every kind of
suffering, and even death itself, if necessity should require it; and
their officers and all the friends of the prince gave a similar pledge
with the same forms.

11. Nebridius the prefect alone, boldly and unshakenly refused,
declaring that he could not possibly bind himself by an oath hostile to
Constantius, from whom he had received many and great obligations.

12. When these words of his were heard, the soldiers who were nearest to
him were greatly enraged, and wished to kill him; but he threw himself
at the feet of Julian, who shielded him with his cloak. Presently, when
he returned to the palace, Nebridius appeared before him, threw himself
at his feet as a suppliant, and entreated him to relieve his fears by
giving him his right hand. Julian replied, "Will there be any
conspicuous favour reserved for my own friends if you are allowed to
touch my hand? However, depart in peace as you will." On receiving this
answer, Nebridius retired in safety to his own house in Tuscany.

13. By these preliminary measures, Julian having learnt, as the
importance of the affair required, what great influence promptness and
being beforehand has in a tumultuous state of affairs, gave the signal
to march towards Pannonia, and advancing his standard and his camp,
boldly committed himself to fickle fortune.


A.D. 361.

§ 1. It is fitting now to retrace our steps and to relate briefly what
(while these events just related were taking place in Gaul) Constantius,
who passed the winter at Antioch, did, whether in peace or war.

2. Besides many others of high rank, some of the most distinguished
tribunes generally come to salute an emperor on his arrival from distant
lands. And accordingly, when Constantius, on his return from
Mesopotamia, received this compliment, a Paphlagonian named
Amphilochius, who had been a tribune, and whom suspicion, not very far
removed from the truth, hinted at as having, while serving formerly
under Constans, sown the seeds of discord between him and his brother,
now ventured, with no little audacity, to come forward as if he were to
be admitted to pay his duty in this way, but was recognized and refused
admittance. Many also raised an outcry against him, crying out that he,
as a stubborn rebel, ought not to be permitted to see another day. But
Constantius, on this occasion more merciful than usual, said, "Cease to
press upon a man who, indeed, as I believe, is guilty, but who has not
been convicted. And remember that if he has done anything of the kind,
he, as long as he is in my sight, will be punished by the judgment of
his own conscience, which he will not be able to escape." And so he

3. The next day, at the Circensian games, the same man was present as a
spectator, just opposite the usual seat of the emperor, when a sudden
shout was raised at the moment of the commencement of the expected
contest; the barriers, on which he with many others was leaning, were
broken, and the whole crowd as well as he were thrown forward into the
empty space; and though a few were slightly hurt, he alone was found to
be killed, having received some internal injury. At which Constantius
rejoiced, prognosticating from this omen protection from his other

4. About the same time (his wife Eusebia having died some time before)
he took another wife, named Faustina. Eusebia's brothers were two men of
consular rank, Hypatius and Eusebius. She had been a woman of
pre-eminent beauty both of person and character, and for one of her high
rank most courteous and humane. And to her favour and justice it was
owing, as we have already mentioned, that Julian was saved from danger
and declared Cæsar.

5. About the same time Florentius also was rewarded, who had quitted
Gaul from fear of a revolution. He was now appointed to succeed
Anatolius, the prefect of the prætorium in Illyricum, who had lately
died. And in conjunction with Taurus, who was appointed to the same
office in Italy, he received the ensigns of this most honourable

6. Nevertheless, the preparations for both foreign and civil wars went
on, the number of the squadrons of cavalry was augmented, and
reinforcements for the legions were enlisted with equal zeal, recruits
being collected all over the provinces. Also every class and profession
was exposed to annoyances, being called upon to furnish arms, clothes,
military engines, and even gold and silver and abundant stores of
provisions, and various kinds of animals.

7. And because, as the king of Persia had been compelled unwillingly to
fall back on account of the difficulties of the winter, it was feared
that as soon as the weather became open he would return with greater
impetuosity than ever, ambassadors were sent to the kings and satraps
across the Tigris, with splendid presents, to advise and entreat them
all to join us, and abstain from all designs or plots against us.

8. But the most important object of all was to win over Arsaces and
Meribanes, the kings of Armenia and Hiberia, who were conciliated by the
gift of magnificent and honourable robes and by presents of all kinds,
and who could have done great harm to the Roman interests if at such a
crisis they had gone over to the Persians.

9. At this important time, Hermogenes died, and was succeeded in his
prefecture by Helpidius, a native of Paphlagonia, a man of mean
appearance and no eloquence, but of a frank and truthful disposition,
humane and merciful. So much so that once when Constantius ordered an
innocent man to be put to the torture before him, he calmly requested to
be deprived of his office, and that such commissions might be given to
others who would discharge them in a manner more in accordance with the
emperor's sentence.


§ 1. Constantius was perplexed at the danger of the crisis before him,
and doubted what to do, being for some time in deep anxiety whether to
march against Julian, who was still at a distance, or to drive back the
Persians, who were already threatening to cross the Euphrates. And while
he was hesitating, and often taking counsel with his generals, he at
last decided that he would first finish, or at all events take the edge
off, the war which was nearest, so as to leave nothing formidable behind
him, and then penetrate through Illyricum and Italy, thinking to catch
Julian at the very outset of his enterprise, as he might catch a deer
with hounds. For so he used to boast, to appease the fears of those
about him.

2. But that his purpose might not appear to cool, and that he might not
seem to have neglected any side of the war, he spread formidable rumours
of his approach in every direction. And fearing that Africa, which on
all occasions seemed to invite usurpers, might be invaded during his
absence, as if he had already quitted the eastern frontier, he sent by
sea to that country his secretary Gaudentius, whom we have already
mentioned as a spy upon the actions of Julian in Gaul.

3. He had two reasons for thinking that this man would be able with
prompt obedience to do all that he desired, both because he feared the
other side, which he had offended, and also because he was anxious to
take this opportunity to gain the favour of Constantius, whom he
expected beyond a doubt to see victorious. Indeed no one at that time
had any other opinion.

4. When Gaudentius arrived in Africa, recollecting the emperor's orders,
he sent letters to Count Cretio, and to the other officers, to instruct
them what his object was; and having collected a formidable force from
all quarters, and having brought over a light division of skirmishers
from the two Mauritanias, he watched the coasts opposite to Italy and
Gaul with great strictness.

5. Nor was Constantius deceived in the wisdom of this measure. For as
long as Gaudentius lived none of the adverse party ever reached that
country, although a vast multitude in arms was watching the Sicilian
coast between Cape Boeo and Cape Passaro, and ready to cross in a moment
if they could find an opportunity.

6. Having made these arrangements as well as the case admitted, in such
a way as he thought most for his advantage and having settled other
things also of smaller importance, Constantius was warned by messengers
and letters from his generals that the Persian army, in one solid body,
and led by its haughty king, was now marching close to the banks of the
Tigris, though it was as yet uncertain at what point they meant to cross
the frontier.

7. And he, feeling the importance of this intelligence, in order, by
being near them, to anticipate their intended enterprises, quitted his
winter quarters in haste, having called in the infantry and cavalry on
which he could rely from all quarters, crossed the Euphrates by a bridge
of boats at Capessana, and marched towards Edessa, which was well
provisioned and strongly fortified, intending to wait there a short time
till he could receive from spies or deserters certain information of the
enemy's motions.


§ 1. In the mean time, Julian leaving the district of Basle, and having
taken all the steps which we have already mentioned, sent Sallustius,
whom he had promoted to be a prefect, into Gaul, and appointed
Germanianus to succeed Nebridius. At the same time he gave Nevitta the
command of the heavy cavalry, being afraid of the old traitor
Gumoharius, who, when he was commander of the Scutarii, he heard had
secretly betrayed his chief officer, Vetranio. The quæstorship he gave
to Jovius, of whom we have spoken when relating the acts of Magnentius,
and the treasury he allotted to Mamertinus. Dagalaiphus also was made
captain of the household guard, and many others, with whose merits and
fidelity he was acquainted, received different commands at his

2. Being now about to march through the Black Forest, and the country
lying on the banks of the Danube, he on a sudden conceived great doubt
and fear whether the smallness of his force might not breed contempt,
and encourage the numerous population of the district to resist his

3. To prevent this, he took prudent precautions, and distributing his
army into divisions, he sent some under Jovenius and Jovius to advance
with all speed by the well-trodden roads of Italy; others under the
command of Nevitta, the commander of the cavalry, were to take the
inland road of the Tyrol. So that his army, by being scattered over
various countries, might cause a belief that its numbers were immense,
and might fill all nations with fear. Alexander the Great, and many
other skilful generals, had done the same thing when their affairs
required it.

4. But he charged them, when they set forth, to march with all speed, as
if likely to meet at any moment with an enemy, and carefully to post
watches and sentries and outposts at night, so as to be free from the
danger of any sudden attack.


§ 1. These things having been arranged according to the best of his
judgment, Julian adhering to the maxim by which he had often forced his
way through the countries of the barbarians, and trusting in his
continued successes, proceeded in his advance.

2. And when he had reached the spot at which he had been informed that
the river was navigable, he embarked on board some boats which good
fortune had brought thither in numbers, and passed as secretly as he
could down the stream, escaping notice the more because his habits of
endurance and fortitude had made him indifferent to delicate food; so
that, being contented with meagre and poor fare, he did not care to
approach their towns or camps, forming his conduct in this respect
according to the celebrated saying of the ancient Cyrus, who, when he
was introduced to a host who asked him what he wished to have got ready
for supper, answered, "Nothing beyond bread, for that he hoped he should
sup by the side of a river."

3. But Fame, which, as they say, having a thousand tongues, always
exaggerates the truth, at this time spread abroad a report among all the
tribes of Illyricum that Julian, having overthrown a number of kings and
nations in Gaul, was coming on flushed with success and with a numerous

4. Jovinus, the prefect of the prætorium, being alarmed at this rumour,
fled in haste, as if from a foreign enemy; and going by the public
conveyances with frequent relays, he crossed the Julian Alps, taking
with him also Florentius the prefect.

5. But Count Lucillianus, who at that time had the command of the army
in these districts, being at Sirmium, and having received some slight
intelligence of Julian's movements, collected the soldiers whom the
emergency gave time for being quickly called from their several
stations, and proposed to resist his advance.

6. Julian, however, like a firebrand or torch once kindled, hastened
quickly to his object; and when, at the waning of the moon, he had
reached Bonmunster, which is about nineteen miles from Sirmium,[116] and
when, therefore, the main part of the night was dark, he unexpectedly
quitted his boats, and at once sent forward Dagalaiphus with his light
troops to summon Lucillianus to his presence, and to drag him before him
if he resisted.

7. He was asleep, and when he was awakened by the violence of this
uproar, and saw himself surrounded by a crowd of strangers, perceiving
the state of the case, and being filled with awe at the name of the
emperor, he obeyed his orders, though sadly against his will. And though
commander of the cavalry, a little while before proud and fierce, he now
obeyed the will of another, and mounting a horse which was brought him
on a sudden, he was led before Julian, as an ignoble prisoner, and from
fear was hardly able to collect his senses.

8. But as soon as he saw the emperor, and was relieved by receiving
permission to offer his salutations to his purple robe, he recovered his
courage, and feeling safe said, "You have been incautious and rash, O
emperor, to trust yourself with but a few troops in the country of
another." But Julian, with a sarcastic smile, replied, "Keep these
prudent speeches for Constantius. I offered you the ensign of my royal
rank to ease you of your fears, and not to take you for my counsellor."


§ 1. So after he had got rid of Lucillianus, thinking no further delay
or hesitation admissible, being bold and confident in all emergencies,
and on the way, as he presumed, to a city inclined to surrender, he
marched on with great speed. When he came near the suburbs, which are
very large and much extended, a vast crowd of soldiers and of every
class of the population came forth to meet him with lights and flowers
and auspicious prayers, and after saluting him as emperor and lord,
conducted him to the palace.

2. He, pleased at these favourable omens, and conceiving therefrom a
sanguine hope of future success, concluded that the example of so
populous and illustrious a metropolis would be followed as a
guiding-star by other cities also, and therefore on the very next day
exhibited a chariot race, to the great joy of the people. On the third
day, unable to brook any delay, he proceeded by the public roads, and
without any resistance seized upon Succi, and appointed Nevitta governor
of the place, as one whom he could trust. It is fitting that I should
now explain the situation of this place Succi.

3. The summits of the mountain chains of Hæmus[117] and Rhodope, the
first of which rises up from the very banks of the Danube, and the other
from the southern bank of the river Axius, ending with swelling ridges
at one narrow point, separate the Illyrians and the Thracians, being on
the one side near the inland Dacians and Serdica, on the other looking
towards Thrace and the rich and noble city of Philippopolis. And, as if
Nature had provided for bringing the surrounding nations under the
dominion of the Romans, they are of such a form as to lead to this end.
Affording at first only a single exit through narrow defiles, but at a
later period they were opened out with roads of such size and beauty as
to be passable even for waggons. Though still, when the passes have been
blocked up, they have often repelled the attacks of great generals and
mighty armies.

4. The part which looks to Illyricum is of a more gentle ascent, so as
to be climbed almost imperceptibly; but the side opposite to Thrace is
very steep and precipitous, in some places absolutely impassable, and in
others hard to climb even where no one seeks to prevent it. Beneath this
lofty chain a spacious level plain extends in every direction, the upper
portion of it reaching even to the Julian Alps, while the lower portion
of it is so open and level as to present no obstacles all the way to the
straits and sea of Marmora.

5. Having arranged these matters as well as the occasion permitted, and
having left there the commander of the cavalry, the emperor returned to
Nissa, a considerable town, in order, without any hindrance, to settle
everything in the way most suited to his interests.

6. While there he appointed Victor, an historical writer, whom he had
seen at Sirmium, and whom he ordered to follow him from that city, to be
consular governor of the second Pannonia; and he erected in his honour a
brazen statue, as a man to be imitated for his temperance; and some time
after he was appointed prefect of Rome.

7. And now, giving the rein to loftier ideas, and believing it to be
impossible to bring Constantius to terms, he wrote a speech full of
bitter invectives to the senate, setting forth many charges of disgrace
and vice against him. And when this harangue, Tertullus still being
prefect of the city, was read in the senate, the gratitude of the
nobles, as well as their splendid boldness, was very conspicuous; for
they all cried out with one unanimous feeling, "We expect that you
should show reverence to the author of your own greatness."

8. Then he assailed the memory of Constantine also as an innovator and a
disturber of established laws and of customs received from ancient
times, accusing him of having been the first to promote barbarians to
the fasces and robe of the consul. But in this respect he spoke with
folly and levity, since, in the face of what he so bitterly reproved, he
a very short time afterwards added to Mamertinus, as his colleague in
the consulship, Nevitta, a man neither in rank, experience, or
reputation at all equal to those on whom Constantine had conferred that
illustrious magistracy, but who, on the contrary, was destitute of
accomplishments and somewhat rude; and what was less easy to be endured,
made a cruel use of his high power.


§ 1. While Julian was occupied with these and similar thoughts, and was
anxious about great and important affairs, a messenger came with
terrible and unexpected news of the monstrous attempts of some persons
which were likely to hinder his fiery progress, unless by prompt
vigilance he could crush them, before they came to a head. I will
briefly relate what they were.

2. Under pretence of urgent necessity, but in reality because he still
suspected their fidelity to him, he had sent into Gaul two legions
belonging to the army of Constantius, with a troop of archers which he
had found at Sirmium. They, moving slowly, and dreading the length of
the journey and the fierce and continual attacks of the hostile Germans,
planned a mutiny, being prompted and encouraged by Nigrinus, a tribune
of a squadron of cavalry, a native of Mesopotamia. And having arranged
the matter in secret conferences, and kept it close in profound silence,
when they arrived at Aquileia, a city important from its situation and
wealth, and fortified with strong walls, they suddenly closed the gates
in a hostile manner, the native population, by whom the name of
Constantius was still beloved, increasing the confusion and the terror.
And having blockaded all the approaches, and armed the towers and
battlements, they prepared measures to encounter the impending struggle,
being in the mean time free and unrestrained. By this daring conduct
they roused the Italian natives of the district to espouse the side of
Constantius, who was still alive.


§ 1. When Julian heard of this transaction, being then at Nissa, as he
feared nothing unfriendly in his rear, and had read and heard that this
city, though often besieged, had never been destroyed or taken,
hastened the more eagerly to gain it, either by stratagem, or by some
kind of flattery or other, before any more formidable event should

2. Therefore he ordered Jovinus, the captain of his cavalry, who was
marching over the Alps, and had entered Noricum, to return with all
speed, to remedy by some means or other, the evil which had burst out.
And, that nothing might be wanting, he bade him retain all the soldiers
who were marching after his court or his standards and passing through
that town, and to avail himself of their help to the utmost.

3. When he had made these arrangements, having soon afterwards heard of
the death of Constantius, he crossed through Thrace, and entered
Constantinople: and having been often assured that the siege would be
protracted rather than formidable, he sent Immo with some other counts
to conduct it; and removed Jovinus to employ him in other matters of
greater importance.

4. Therefore, having surrounded Aquileia with a double line of heavy
infantry, the generals all agreed upon trying to induce the garrison to
surrender, using alternately threats and caresses; but after many
proposals and replies had been interchanged, their obstinacy only
increased, and the conferences were abandoned, having proved wholly

5. And because there was now no prospect but that of a battle, both
sides refreshed themselves with sleep and food; and at daybreak the
trumpets sounded, and the two armies, arrayed for reciprocal slaughter,
attacked one another with loud shouts, but with more ferocity than

6. Therefore the besiegers, bearing wooden penthouses over them, and
closely woven wicker defences, marched on slowly and cautiously, and
attempted to undermine the walls with iron tools: many also bore ladders
which had been made of the height of the walls, and came up close to
them: when some were dashed down by stones hurled on their heads, others
were transfixed by whizzing javelins, and falling back, dragged with
them those who were in their rear; and others, from fear of similar
mischances, shrank from the attack.

7. The besieged being encouraged by the issue of this first conflict,
and hoping for still better success, disregarded the rest of the attacks
made on them; and with resolute minds they stationed engines in suitable
positions, and with unwearied toil discharged the duties of watching and
of whatever else could tend to their safety.

8. On the other hand, the besiegers, though fearing another combat, and
full of anxiety, still out of shame would not appear lazy or cowardly,
and as they could make no way by open attacks, they also applied
themselves to the various manoeuvres employed in sieges. And because
there was no ground favourable for working battering-rams or other
engines, nor for making mines, since the river Natiso passed under the
walls of the city, they contrived a plan worthy to be compared with any
effort of ancient skill.

9. With great rapidity they built some wooden towers, higher than the
battlements of the enemy, and then fastening their boats together, they
placed these towers on them. In them they stationed soldiers, who, with
undaunted resolution, laboured to drive down the garrison from the
walls; while under them were bodies of light infantry wholly
unencumbered, who going forth from the hollow parts of the towers below,
threw drawbridges across, which they had put together beforehand, and so
tried to cross over to the bottom of the wall while the attention of the
garrison was diverted from them; so that while those above them were
attacking one another with darts and stones, those who crossed over on
the drawbridges might be able without interruption to break down a
portion of the wall and so effect an entrance.

10. But once more a clever design failed in its result. For when the
towers came close to the walls, they were assailed with brands steeped
in pitch, and reeds, and faggots, and every kind of food for flames, all
kindled. The towers quickly caught fire, and yielding under the weight
of the men who were mounted on them, fell into the river, while some of
the soldiers on their summits, even before they fell, had been pierced
with javelins hurled from the engines on the walls, and so died.

11. Meanwhile the soldiers at the foot of the wall, being cut off by the
destruction of their comrades in the boats, were crushed with huge
stones, with the exception of a few, who, in spite of the difficult
ground over which their flight lay, escaped by their swiftness of foot.
At last, when the contest had been protracted till evening, the usual
signal for retreat was given, and the combatants parted to pass the
night with very different feelings.

12. The losses of the besiegers, who had suffered greatly, encouraged
the defenders of the town with hopes of victory, though they also had to
mourn the deaths of some few of their number. Nevertheless, the
preparations went on rapidly. Rest and food refreshed their bodies
during the night; and at dawn of day the conflict was renewed at the
trumpet's signal.

13. Some, holding their shields over their heads, in order to fight with
more activity; others, in front, bore ladders on their shoulders, and
rushed on with eager vehemence, exposing their breasts to wounds from
every kind of weapon. Some endeavoured to break down the iron bars of
the gates; but were attacked with fire, or crushed under stones hurled
from the walls. Some boldly strove to cross the fosses, but fell beneath
the sudden sallies of soldiers rushing out from postern gates, or were
driven back with severe wounds. For those who sallied forth had an easy
retreat within the walls, and the rampart in front of the walls,
strengthened with turf, saved those who lay in wait behind it from all

14. Although the garrison excelled in endurance and in the arts of war,
without any other aid than that of their walls, still our soldiers,
being attacked as they were from a more numerous force, became impatient
of the long delay, and moved round and round the suburbs, seeking
diligently to discover by what force or what engines they could make
their way out of the city.

15. But as, through the greatness of the difficulties in their way, they
could not accomplish this, they began to slacken their exertions as to
the siege itself, and leaving a few watches and outposts, ravaged the
adjacent country, and thus obtained all kinds of supplies, dividing
their booty with their comrades. The consequence was, that excessive
eating and drinking proved injurious to their health.

16. When, however, Immo and his colleagues reported this to Julian, who
was passing the winter at Constantinople, he applied a wise remedy to
such a disorder, and sent thither Agilo, the commander of his infantry,
an officer in great esteem, that when a man of his rank and reputation
appeared there and took the intelligence of the death of Constantius to
the army, the siege might be terminated in that way.

17. In the mean while, not to abandon the siege of Aquileia, as all
other attempts had proved futile, the generals endeavoured to compel the
citizens to surrender by want of water. So they cut the aqueducts; but
as the garrison still resisted with undiminished courage, they, with
vast valour, diverted the stream of the river. But this again was done
in vain; for they reduced the allowance of water to each man; and
contented themselves with the scanty supply they could procure from

18. While these affairs were proceeding thus, Agilo arrived, as he had
been commanded; and, being protected by a strong body of heavy infantry,
came up boldly close to the walls; and in a long and veracious speech,
told the citizens of the death of Constantius, and the confirmation of
Julian's power; but was reviled and treated as a liar. Nor would any one
believe his statement of what had occurred, till on promise of safety he
was admitted by himself to the edge of the defences; where, with a
solemn oath, he repeated what he had before related.

19. When his story was heard, they all, eager to be released from their
protracted sufferings, threw open the gates and rushed out, admitting
him in the joy as a captain who brought them peace; and excusing
themselves, they gave up Nigrinus as the author of their mad resistance,
and a few others; demanding that their punishment should be taken as an
atonement for the treason and sufferings of the city.

20. Accordingly, a few days later, the affair was rigorously
investigated; Mamertinus, the prefect of the prætorium, sitting as
judge; and Nigrinus, as the cause of the war, was burnt alive. After
him, Romulus and Sabostius, men who had held high office, being
convicted of having sown discord in the empire without any regard to the
consequences, were beheaded; and all the rest escaped unpunished, as
men who had been driven to hostilities by necessity, and not by their
own inclination; this being the decision of the merciful and clement
emperor, after a full consideration of justice. These things, however,
happened some time afterwards.

21. But Julian, who was still at Nissa, was occupied in the graver
cases, being full of fears on both sides. For he was apprehensive lest
the defiles of the Julian Alps might be seized and barred against him by
some sudden onset of the troops who had been shut up in Aquileia; by
which he might lose the provinces beyond, and the supplies which he was
daily expecting from that quarter.

22. And he also greatly feared the power of the East; hearing that the
soldiers who were scattered over Thrace had been suddenly collected
together to act against him, and were advancing towards the frontiers of
the Succi, under command of Count Marcianus. But, devising measures
suitable to this mass of pressing anxieties, he quickly assembled his
Illyrian army, long inured to war, and eager to renew its martial
labours under a warlike chief.

23. Nor even at this critical moment did he forget the interests of
individuals; but devoted some time to hearing contested causes,
especially those concerning municipal bodies, in whose favour he was too
partial, so that he raised several persons who did not deserve such
honour to public offices.

24. It was here that he found Symmachus and Maximus, two eminent
senators, who had been sent by the nobles as envoys to Constantius, and
had returned again. He promoted them with great honour; so that,
preferring them to others more deserving, he made Maximus prefect of the
eternal city, in order to gratify Rufinus Vulcatius, whose nephew he
was. Under his administration the city enjoyed great plenty, and there
was an end to the complaints of the common people, which had been so

25. Afterwards, in order to add security to those of his affairs which
were still unsettled, and encourage the confidence of the loyal, he
raised Mamertinus, the prefect of the prætorium in Illyricum, and
Nevitta to the consulship; though he had so lately assailed the memory
of Constantine as the person who had set the example of thus promoting
low-born barbarians.


§ 1. While Julian was thus carrying out new projects, and alternating
between hope and fear, Constantius at Edessa, being made anxious by the
various accounts brought him by his spies, was full of perplexity. At
one time collecting his army for battle; at another, wishing to lay
siege to Bezabde on two sides, if he could find an opportunity; taking
at the same time prudent precautions not to leave Mesopotamia
unprotected, while about to march into the districts of Armenia.

2. But while still undecided, he was detained by various causes. Sapor
also remained on the other side of the Tigris till the sacrifices should
become propitious to his moving. For if after crossing the river he
found no resistance, he might without difficulty penetrate to the
Euphrates. On the other hand, if he wished to keep his soldiers for the
civil war, he feared to expose them to the dangers of a siege; having
already experienced the strength of the walls and the vigour of the

3. However, not to lose time, and to avoid inactivity, he sent Arbetio
and Agilo, the captains of his infantry and cavalry, with very large
forces, to march with all speed; not to provoke the Persians to battle,
but to establish forts on the nearest bank of the Tigris, which might be
able to reconnoitre, and see in what direction the furious monarch broke
forth; and with many counsels given both verbally and in writing, he
charged them to retreat with celerity the moment the enemy's army began
to cross the river.

4. While these generals were watching the frontier as they were ordered,
and spying out the secret designs of their most crafty enemy, he
himself, with the main body of his army, made head against his most
pressing foes, as if prepared for battle; and defended the adjacent
towns by rapid movements. Meantime spies and deserters continually
coming in, related to him opposite stories; being in fact ignorant of
what was intended, because among the Persians no one knows what is
decided on except a few taciturn and trusty nobles, by whom the god
Silence is worshipped.

5. But the emperor was continually sent for by the generals whom I have
mentioned, who implored him to send them aid. For they protested that
unless the whole strength of the army was collected together, it would
be impossible to withstand the onset of the furious Sapor.

6. And while things in this quarter were thus full of anxiety, other
messengers arrived in numbers, by whose accurate statements he learnt
that Julian had traversed Italy and Illyricum with great rapidity, had
occupied the defiles of the Succi, and called in auxiliaries from all
quarters, and was now marching through Thrace with a very large force.

7. Constantius, learning this, was overwhelmed with grief, but supported
by one comfort, that he had always triumphed over internal commotions.
Nevertheless, though the affair made it very difficult for him to decide
on a line of action, he chose the best; and sent a body of troops on by
public conveyances, in order as quickly as possible to make head against
the impending danger.

8. And as that plan was universally approved, the troops went as they
were commanded, in the lightest marching order. But the next day, while
he was finally arranging these matters, he received intelligence that
Sapor, with his whole army, had returned to his own country, because the
auspices were unfavourable. So, his fears being removed, he called in
all the troops except those who as usual were assigned for the
protection of Mesopotamia, and returned to Hierapolis.

9. And still doubting what would be the final result of all his
difficulties, when he had collected his army together he convened all
the centuries and companies and squadrons by sound of trumpet; and the
whole plain being filled with the host, he, standing on a lofty tribune,
in order to encourage them the more readily to execute what he should
direct, and being surrounded by a numerous retinue, spoke thus with
great appearance of calmness and a studied look of confidence.

10. "Being always anxious never to do or say anything inconsistent with
incorruptible honour, like a cautious pilot, who turns his helm this way
or that way according to the movement of the waves, I am now
constrained, my most affectionate subjects, to confess my errors to you,
or rather, if I were to say the plain truth, my humanity, which I did
think would be beneficial to our common interests. So now that you may
the better understand what is the object of convoking this assembly,
listen, I pray you, with impartiality and kindness.

11. "At the time when Magnentius, whom your bravery overcome, was
obstinately labouring to throw all things into confusion, I sent Gallus
my cousin, who had been lately raised to the rank of Cæsar, to guard the
East. But he, having by many wicked and shameful arts departed from
justice, was punished by a legal sentence.

12. "Would that Envy had then been contented, that most bitter exciter
of troubles! And that we had nothing to grieve us but the single
recollection of past sorrows, unaccompanied by any idea of present
danger! But now a new circumstance, more grievous than any former one I
will venture to say, has taken place, which the gods who aid us will put
an end to by means of your innate valour.

13. "Julian, whom, while you were combating the nations which threaten
Illyricum on all sides, I appointed to protect Gaul, presuming on the
issue of some trifling battles which he has fought against the
half-armed Germans, and full of silly elation, has taken a few auxiliary
battalions into his noble alliance, men from their natural ferocity and
the desperateness of their situation ready for acts of the most
mischievous audacity, and has conspired against the public safety,
trampling down justice, the parent and nurse of the Roman world. That
power I believe, both because I myself have experienced it, and because
all antiquity assures me of its might, will, as an avenger of
wickedness, soon trample down their pride like so many ashes.

14. "What then remains, except to hasten to encounter the whirlwind thus
raised against us? so as by promptitude to crush the fury of this rising
war before it comes to maturity and strength? Nor can it be questioned
that, with the favour of the supreme deity, by whose everlasting
sentence ungrateful men are condemned, the sword which they have
wickedly drawn will be turned to their own destruction. Since never
having received any provocation, but rather after having been loaded
with benefits, they have risen up to threaten innocent men with danger.

15. "For as my mind augurs, and as justice, which will aid upright
counsels, promises, I feel sure that when once we come to close
quarters, they will be so benumbed with fear as neither to be able to
stand the fire of your glancing eyes nor the sound of your battle cry."
This speech harmonized well with the feelings of the soldiers. In their
rage they brandished their shields, and after answering him in terms of
eager good-will, demanded to be led at once against the rebels. Their
cordiality changed the emperor's fear into joy; and having dismissed the
assembly, as he knew by past experience that Arbetio was most eminently
successful in putting an end to intestine wars, he ordered him to
advance first by the road which he himself designed to take, with the
spearmen and the legion of Mattium,[118] and several battalions of light
troops; he also ordered Gomoarius to take with him the Leti, to check
the enemy on their arrival among the defiles of the Succi; he was
selected for this service because he was unfriendly to Julian on account
of some slight he had received from him in Gaul.


§ 1. While the fortune of Constantius was now wavering and tottering in
this tumult of adverse circumstances, it showed plainly by signs which
almost spoke that a very critical moment of his life was at hand. For he
was terrified by nocturnal visions, and before he was thoroughly asleep
he had seen the shade of his father bringing him a beautiful child; and
when he received it and placed it in his bosom, it struck a globe which
he had in his right hand to a distance. Now this indicated a change of
circumstances, although those who interpreted it gave favourable answers
when consulted.

2. After this he confessed to his most intimate friends that, as if he
were wholly forsaken, he had ceased to see a secret vision which
sometimes he had fancied appeared to him in mournful guise; and he
believed that the genius who had been appointed to watch over his safety
had abandoned him, as one who was soon to leave the world.

3. For the opinion of theologians is, that all men when they are born
(without prejudice to the power of destiny) are connected with a
superior power of this kind, who, as it were, guides their actions; but
who is seen by very few, and only by those who are endued with great and
various virtues.

4. This may be collected both from oracles and from eminent writers.
Among whom is the comic poet Menander, in whose works these two verses
are found:--

  "A spirit is assigned to every man
  When born to guide him in the path of life."

5. It may also be gathered from the immortal poetry of Homer, that they
were not really the gods of heaven who conversed with his heroes, or
stood by them and aided them in their combats; but the familiar genii
who belonged to them; to whom also, as their principal support,
Pythagoras owes his eminence, and Socrates and Numa Pompilius and the
elder Scipio. And, as some fancy, Marius, and Octavianus the first, who
took the name of Augustus. And Hermes Trismegistus, and Apollonius of
Tyana, and Plotinus, who ventured upon some very mystical discussions of
this point; and endeavoured to show by profound reasoning what is the
original cause why these genii, being thus connected with the souls of
mortals, protect them as if they had been nursed in their own bosoms, as
far as they are permitted; and, if they find them pure, preserving the
body untainted by any connection with vice, and free from all taint of
sin, instruct them in loftier mysteries.


§ 1. Constantius therefore, having hastened to Antioch, according to his
wont, at the first movement of a civil war which he was eager to
encounter, as soon as he had made all his preparations, was in amazing
haste to march, though many of his court were so unwilling as even to
proceed to murmurs. For no one dare openly to remonstrate or object to
his plan.

2. He set forth towards the end of autumn; and when he reached the
suburb called Hippocephalus, which is about three miles from the town,
as soon as it was daylight he saw on his right the corpse of a man who
had been murdered, lying with his head torn off from the body, stretched
out towards the west--and though alarmed at the omen, which seemed as if
the Fates were preparing his end, he went on more resolutely, and came
to Tarsus, where he caught a slight fever; and thinking that the motion
of his journey would remove the distemper, he went on by bad roads;
directing his course by Mopsucrenæ, the farthest station in Cilicia for
those who travel from hence, at the foot of Mount Taurus.

3. But when he attempted to proceed the next day he was prevented by the
increasing violence of his disorder, and the fever began gradually to
inflame his veins, so that his body felt like a little fire, and could
scarcely be touched; and as all remedies failed, he began in the last
extremity to bewail his death; and while his mental faculties were still
entire, he is said to have indicated Julian as the successor to his
power. Presently the last struggle of death came on, and he lost the
power of speech. And after long and painful agony he died on the fifth
of October, having lived and reigned forty years and a few months.

4. After bewailing his death with groans, lamentations, and mourning,
those of the highest rank in the royal palace deliberated what to do or
to attempt; and having secretly consulted a few persons about the
election of an emperor, at the instigation, as it is said, of Eusebius,
who was stimulated by his consciousness of guilt (since Julian was
approaching who was prepared to oppose his attempts at innovation), they
sent Theolaiphus and Aligildus, who at that time were counts, to him, to
announce the death of his kinsman; and to entreat him to lay aside all
delay and hasten to take possession of the East, which was prepared to
obey him.

5. But fame and an uncertain report whispered that Constantius had left
a will, in which, as we have already mentioned, he had named Julian as
his heir; and had given commissions and legacies to his friends. But he
left his wife in the family way, who subsequently had a daughter, who
received the same name, and was afterwards married to Gratianus.


§ 1. In accurately distinguishing the virtues and vices of Constantius,
it will be well to take the virtues first. Always preserving the dignity
of the imperial authority, he proudly and magnanimously disdained
popularity. In conferring the higher dignities he was very sparing, and
allowed very few changes to be made in the administration of the
finances. Nor did he ever encourage the arrogance of the soldiers.

2. Nor under him was any general promoted to the title of most
illustrious.[119] For there was also, as we have already mentioned, the
title of most perfect.[120] Nor had the governor of a province occasion
to court a commander of cavalry; as Constantius never allowed those
officers to meddle with civil affairs. But all officers, both military
and civil, were according to the respectful usages of old, inferior to
that of the prefect of the prætorium, which was the most honourable of

3. In taking care of the soldiers he was very cautious: an examiner into
their merits, sometimes over-scrupulous, giving dignities about the
palace as if with scales. Under him no one who was not well known to
him, or who was favoured merely by some sudden impulse, ever received
any high appointment in the palace. But only such as had served ten
years in some capacity or other could look for such appointments as
master of the ceremonies or treasurer. The successful candidates could
always be known beforehand; and it very seldom happened that any
military officer was transferred to a civil office; while on the other
hand none but veteran soldiers were appointed to command troops.

4. He was a diligent cultivator of learning, but, as his blunted talent
was not suited to rhetoric, he devoted himself to versification; in
which, however, he did nothing worth speaking of.

5. In his way of life he was economical and temperate, and by moderation
in eating and drinking he preserved such robust health that he was
rarely ill, though when ill dangerously so. For repeated experience and
proof has shown that this is the case with persons who avoid
licentiousness and luxury.

6. He was contented with very little sleep, which he took when time and
season allowed; and throughout his long life he was so extremely chaste
that no suspicion was ever cast on him in this respect, though it is a
charge which, even when it can find no ground, malignity is apt to
fasten on princes.

7. In riding and throwing the javelin, in shooting with the bow, and in
all the accomplishments of military exercises, he was admirably skilful.
That he never blew his nose in public, never spat, never was seen to
change countenance, and that he never in all his life ate any fruit I
pass over, as what has been often related before.

8. Having now briefly enumerated his good qualities with which we have
been able to become acquainted, let us now proceed to speak of his
vices. In other respects he was equal to average princes, but if he had
the slightest reason (even if founded on wholly false information) for
suspecting any one of aiming at supreme power, he would at once
institute the most rigorous inquiry, trampling down right and wrong
alike, and outdo the cruelty of Caligula, Domitian, or Commodus, whose
barbarity he rivalled at the very beginning of his reign, when he
shamefully put to death his own connections and relations.

9. And his cruelty and morose suspicions, which were directed against
everything of the kind, were a cruel addition to the sufferings of the
unhappy persons who were accused of sedition or treason.

10. And if anything of the kind got wind, he instituted investigations
of a more terrible nature than the law sanctioned, appointing men of
known cruelty as judges in such cases; and in punishing offenders he
endeavoured to protract their deaths as long as nature would allow,
being in such cases more savage than even Gallienus. For he, though
assailed by incessant and real plots of rebels, such as Aureolus,
Posthumus, Ingenuus, and Valens who was surnamed the Thessalonian, and
many others, often mitigated the penalty of crimes liable to sentence of
death; while Constantius caused facts which were really unquestionable
to be looked upon as doubtful by the excessive inhumanity of his

11. In such cases he had a mortal hatred of justice, even though his
great object was to be accounted just and merciful: and as sparks flying
from a dry wood, by a mere breath of wind are sometimes carried on with
unrestrained course to the danger of the country villages around, so he
also from the most trivial causes kindled heaps of evils, being very
unlike that wise emperor Marcus Aurelius, who, when Cassius in Syria
aspired to the supreme power, and when a bundle of letters which he had
written to his accomplices, was taken with their bearer, and brought to
him, ordered them at once to be burned, while he was still in Illyricum,
in order that he might not know who had plotted against him, and so
against his will be obliged to consider some persons as his enemies.

12. And, as some right-thinking people are of opinion, it was rather an
indication of great virtue in Constantius to have quelled the empire
without shedding more blood, than to have revenged himself with such

13. As Cicero also teaches us, when in one of his letters to Nepos he
accuses Cæsar of cruelty, "For," says he, "felicity is nothing else but
success in what is honourable;" or to define it in another way,
"Felicity is fortune assisting good counsels, and he who is not guided
by such cannot be happy. Therefore in wicked and impious designs such as
those of Cæsar there could be no felicity; and in my judgment Camillus
when in exile was happier than Manlius at the same time, even if Manlius
had been able to make himself king, as he wished."

14. The same is the language of Heraclitus of Ephesus, when he remarks
that men of eminent capacity and virtue, through the caprice of fortune,
have often been overcome by men destitute of either talent or energy.
But that that glory is the best when power, existing with high rank,
forces, as it were, its inclinations to be angry and cruel, and
oppressive under the yoke, and so erects a glorious trophy in the
citadel of its victorious mind.

15. But as in his foreign wars this emperor was unsuccessful and
unfortunate, on the other hand in his civil contests he was successful;
and in all those domestic calamities he covered himself with the horrid
blood of the enemies of the republic and of himself; and yielding to his
elation at these triumphs in a way neither right nor usual, he erected
at a vast expense triumphal arches in Gaul and the two Pannonias, to
record his triumphs over his own provinces; engraving on them the titles
of his exploits ... as long as they should last, to those who read the

16. He was preposterously addicted to listening to his wives, and to the
thin voices of his eunuchs, and some of his courtiers, who applauded all
his words, and watched everything he said, whether in approval or
disapproval, in order to agree with it.

17. The misery of these times was further increased by the insatiable
covetousness of his tax-collectors, who brought him more odium than
money; and to many persons this seemed the more intolerable, because he
never listened to any excuse, never took any measures for relief of the
provinces when oppressed by the multiplicity of taxes and imposts; and
in addition to all this he was very apt to take back any exemptions
which he had granted.

18. He confused the Christian religion, which is plain and simple, with
old women's superstitions; in investigating which he preferred
perplexing himself to settling its questions with dignity, so that he
excited much dissension; which he further encouraged by diffuse wordy
explanations: he ruined the establishment of public conveyances by
devoting them to the service of crowds of priests, who went to and fro
to different synods, as they call the meetings at which they endeavour
to settle everything according to their own fancy.

19. As to his personal appearance and stature, he was of a dark
complexion with prominent eyes; of keen sight, soft hair, with his
cheeks carefully shaved, and bright looking. From his waist to his neck
he was rather long, his legs were very short and crooked, which made him
a good leaper and runner.

20. When the body of the deceased emperor had been laid out, and placed
in a coffin, Jovianus, at that time the chief officer of the guard, was
ordered to attend it with royal pomp to Constantinople, to be buried
among his relations.

21. While he was proceeding on the vehicle which bore the remains,
samples of the military provisions were brought to him as an offering,
as is usual in the case of princes; and the public animals were paraded
before him; and a concourse of people came out to meet him as was usual;
which, with other similar demonstrations, seemed to portend to Jovianus,
as the superintendent of his funeral, the attainment of the empire, but
an authority only curtailed and shadowy.

[114] The Quinquennalia (games under which title had been previously
instituted in honour of Julius Cæsar and Augustus) were revived by Nero,
A.D. 60, again fell into disuse, and were again revived by
Domitian.--Cf. Tacit. An. xiv. 20.

[115] V. infra, Leo xxvi. c. 8.

[116] Sirmium was very near the existing town of Peterwaradin.

[117] Now the Balkan.

[118] It is believed that Mattium is the same as Marburg; it is not
quite certain.

[119] These and other titles, such as "respectable" (spectabiles),
"illustrious" (egregrie, illustres), were invented by the emperors of
this century. They none of them appear to have conferred any substantive

[120] This office had been first established by Augustus, who created
two prefects of the prætorian cohorts, under whose command also all the
soldiers in Italy were placed. Commodus raised the number to three, and
Constantine to four, whom (when he abolished the prætorian cohort), he
made, in fact, governors of provinces. There was one præfectus prætorio
for Gaul, one for Italy, one for Illyricum, and one for the East.



     I. From fear of Constantius Julian halts in Dacia, and secretly
     consults the augurs and soothsayers.--II. When he hears of
     Constantius's death he passes through Thrace, and enters
     Constantinople, which he finds quiet; and without a battle becomes
     sole master of the Roman empire.--III. Some of the adherents of
     Constantius are condemned, some deservedly, some wrongfully.--IV.
     Julian expels from the palace all the eunuchs, barbers, and
     cooks--A statement of the vices of the eunuchs about the palace,
     and the corrupt state of military discipline.--V. Julian openly
     professes his adherence to the pagan worship, which he had hitherto
     concealed; and lets the Christian bishops dispute with one
     another.--VI. How he compelled some Egyptian litigants, who
     modestly sought his intervention, to return home.--VII. At
     Constantinople he often administers justice in the senate-house; he
     arranges the affairs of Thrace, and receives anxious embassies from
     foreign nations.--VIII. A description of Thrace, and of the Sea of
     Marmora, and of the regions and nations contiguous to the Black
     Sea.--IX. Having enlarged and beautified Constantinople, Julian
     goes to Antioch; on his road he joins the citizens of Nicomedia
     moving to restore their city; and at Ancyra presides in the court
     of justice.--X. He winters at Antioch, and presides in the court of
     justice; and oppresses no one on account of his religion.--XI.
     George, bishop of Alexandria, with two others, is dragged through
     the streets by the Gentiles of Alexandria, and torn to pieces and
     burnt, without any one being punished for this action.--XII. Julian
     prepares an expedition against the Persians, and, in order to know
     beforehand the result of the war, he consults the oracles; and
     sacrifices innumerable victims, devoting himself wholly to
     soothsaying and augury.--XIII. He unjustly attributes the burning
     of the temple of Apollo at Daphne to the Christians, and orders the
     great church at Antioch to be shut up.--XIV. He sacrifices to
     Jupiter on Mount Casius--Why he writes the Misopogon in his anger
     against the citizens of Antioch.--XV. A description of Egypt;
     mention of the Nile, the crocodile, the ibis, and the
     pyramids.--XVI. Description of the five provinces of Egypt, and of
     their famous cities.


A.D. 361.

§ 1. While the variable events of fortune were bringing to pass these
events in different parts of the world, Julian, amid the many plans
which he was revolving while in Illyricum, was continually consulting
the entrails of victims and watching the flight of birds in his
eagerness to know the result of what was about to happen.

2. Aprunculus Gallus, an orator and a man of skill as a soothsayer, who
was afterwards promoted to be governor of Narbonne, announced these
results to him, being taught beforehand by the inspection of a liver, as
he affirmed, which he had seen covered with a double skin. And while
Julian was fearing that he was inventing stories to correspond with his
desires, and was on that account out of humour, he himself beheld a far
more favourable omen, which clearly predicted the death of Constantius.
For at the same moment that that prince died in Cilicia, the soldier
who, as he was going to mount his horse, had supported him with his
right hand, fell down, on which Julian at once exclaimed, in the hearing
of many persons, that he who had raised him to the summit had fallen.

3. But he did not change his plans, but remained within the border of
Dacia, still being harassed with many fears. Nor did he think it prudent
to trust to conjectures, which might perhaps turn out contrary to his


§ 1. But while he was thus in suspense, the ambassadors, Theolaiphus and
Aligildus, who had been despatched to him to announce the death of
Constantius, suddenly arrived, adding that that prince with his last
words had named him as his successor in his dignity.

2. As soon as he learnt this, being delighted at his deliverance from
the turmoils of war and its consequent disorders, and fully relying on
the prophecies he had received, having besides often experienced the
advantages of celerity of action, he issued orders to march to Thrace.
Therefore speedily advancing his standards, he passed over the high
ground occupied by the Succi, and marched towards the ancient city of
Eumolpias, now called Philippopolis, all his army following him with

3. For they now saw that the imperial power which they were on their way
to seize, in the face of imminent danger, was in a measure beyond their
hopes put into their hands by the course of nature. And as report is
wont marvellously to exaggerate events, a rumour got abroad that Julian,
formidable both by sea and land, had entered Heraclea, called also
Perinthus, borne over its unresisting walls on the chariot of
Triptolemus, which from its rapid movements the ancients, who loved
fables, had stated to be drawn by flying serpents and dragons.

4. When he arrived at Constantinople, people of every age and sex poured
forth to meet him, as though he were some one dropped from heaven. On
the eleventh of December he was received with respectful duty by the
senate, and by the unanimous applause of the citizens, and was escorted
into the city by vast troops of soldiers and civilians, marshalled like
an army, while all eyes were turned on him, not only with the gaze of
curiosity, but with great admiration.

5. For it seemed to them like a dream, that a youth in the flower of his
age, of slight body, but renowned for great exploits, after many
victories over barbarian kings and nations, having passed from city to
city with unparalleled speed, should now, by an accession of wealth and
power as rapid as the spread of fire, have become the unresisted master
of the world; and the will of God itself having given him the empire,
should thus have obtained it without any injury to the state.


§ 1. His first step was to give to Secundus Sallustius, whom he promoted
to be prefect of the prætorium, being well assured of his loyalty, a
commission to conduct some important investigations, joining with him as
colleagues Mamertinus, Arbetio, Agilo, and Nevitta, and also Jovinus,
whom he had recently promoted to the command of the cavalry in

2. They all went to Chalcedon, and in the presence of the chiefs and
tribunes, the Jovian and Herculian legions, they tried several causes
with too much rigour, though there were some in which it was undeniable
that the accused were really guilty.

3. They banished Palladius, the master of the ceremonies, to Britain,
though there was but a suspicion that he had prejudiced Constantius
against Gallus, while he was master of the ceremonies under that prince
as Cæsar.

4. They banished Taurus, who had been prefect of the prætorium, to
Vercelli, who, to all persons capable of distinguishing between right
and wrong, will appear very excusable in respect to the act for which he
was condemned. For his offence was only that, fearing a violent
disturbance which had arisen, he fled to the protection of his prince.
And the treatment inflicted on him could not be read without great
horror, when the preamble of the public accusation began thus:--"In the
consulship of Taurus and Florentius, Taurus being brought before the
criers ..."

5. Pentadius also was destined for a similar sentence; the charge
against him being that, having been sent on a mission by Constantius, he
had made notes of the replies given by Gallus when he was examined on
several subjects before he was put to death. But as he defended himself
with justice, he was at last discharged.

6. With similar iniquity, Florentius, at that time master of the
ceremonies, the son of Nigridianus, was banished to Boæ, an island on
the coast of Dalmatia. The other Florentius, who had been prefect of the
prætorium, and was then consul, being alarmed at the sudden change in
the aspect of affairs, in order to save himself from danger, hid
himself and his wife for some time, and never returned during Julian's
life; still he was, though absent, condemned to death.

7. In the same way, Evagrius, the comptroller of the private demesnes of
the emperor, and Saturninus, late superintendent of the palace, and
Cyrinus, late secretary, were all banished. But Justice herself seems to
have mourned over the death of Ursulus, the treasurer, and to accuse
Julian of ingratitude to him. For when, as Cæsar, he was sent to the
west, with the intent that he was to be kept in great poverty, and
without any power of making presents to any of his soldiers, in order to
make them less inclined to favour any enterprise which he might
conceive, this same Ursulus gave him letters to the superintendent of
the Gallic treasury, desiring him to give the Cæsar whatever he might

8. After his death, Julian, feeling that he was exposed to general
reproach and execration, thinking that an unpardonable crime could be
excused, affirmed that the man had been put to death without his being
aware of it, pretending that he had been massacred by the fury of the
soldiers, who recollected what he had said (as we mentioned before) when
he saw the destruction of Amida.

9. And therefore it seemed to be through fear, or else from a want of
understanding what was proper, that he appointed Arbetio, a man always
vacillating and arrogant, to preside over these investigations, with
others of the chief officers of the legions present for the look of the
thing, when he knew that he had been one of the chief enemies to his
safety, as was natural in one who had borne, a distinguished share in
the successes of the civil war.

10. And though these transactions which I have mentioned vexed those who
wished him well, those which came afterwards were carried out with a
proper vigour and severity.

11. It was only a deserved destiny which befel Apodemius, who had been
the chief steward, and whose cruel machinations with respect to the
deaths of Silvanus and Gallus we have already mentioned, and Paulus, the
secretary, surnamed "The Chain," men who are never spoken of without
general horror, and who were now sentenced to be burnt alive.

12. They also sentenced to death Eusebius, the chief chamberlain of
Constantius, a man equally full of ambition and cruelty, who from the
lowest rank had been raised so high as even almost to lord it over the
emperor, and who had thus become wholly intolerable; and whom Nemesis,
who beholds all human affairs, having often, as the saying is, plucked
him by the ear, and warned to conduct himself with more moderation, now,
in spite of his struggles, hurled headlong from his high position.


§ 1. After this Julian directed his whole favour and affection to people
of every description about the palace; not acting in this like a
philosopher anxious for the discovery of truth.

2. For he might have been praised if he had retained a few who were
moderate in their disposition, and of proved honesty and respectability.
We must, indeed, confess that the greater part of them had nourished as
it were such a seed-bed of all vices, which they spread abroad so as to
infect the whole republic with evil desires, and did even more injury by
their example than by the impunity which they granted to crimes.

3. Some of them had been fed on the spoils of temples, had smelt out
gain on every occasion, and having raised themselves from the lowest
poverty to vast riches, had set no bounds to their bribery, their
plunder, or their extravagance, being at all times accustomed to seize
what belonged to others.

4. From which habit the beginnings of licentious life sprang up, with
perjuries, contempt of public opinion, and an insane arrogance,
sacrificing good faith to infamous gains.

5. Among which vices, debauchery and unrestrained gluttony grew to a
head, and costly banquets superseded triumphs for victories. The common
use of silken robes prevailed, the textile arts were encouraged, and
above all was the anxious care about the kitchen. Vast spaces were
sought out for ostentatious houses, so vast that if the consul
Cincinnatus had possessed as much land, he would have lost the glory of
poverty after his dictatorship.

6. To these shameful vices was added the loss of military discipline;
the soldier practised songs instead of his battle-cry, and a stone would
no longer serve him for a bed, as formerly, but he wanted feathers and
yielding mattresses, and goblets heavier than his sword, for he was now
ashamed to drink out of earthenware; and he required marble houses,
though it is recorded in ancient histories that a Spartan soldier was
severely punished for venturing to appear under a roof at all during a

7. But now the soldier was fierce and rapacious towards his own
countrymen, but towards the enemy he was inactive and timid, by courting
different parties, and in times of peace he had acquired riches, and was
now a judge of gold and precious stones, in a manner wholly contrary to
the recollection of very recent times.

8. For it is well known that when, in the time of the Cæsar Maximian,
the camp of the king of Persia was plundered; a common soldier, after
finding a Persian bag full of pearls, threw the gems away in ignorance
of their value, and went away contented with the mere beauty of his bit
of dressed leather.

9. In those days it also happened that a barber who had been sent for to
cut the emperor's hair, came handsomely dressed; and when Julian saw
him, he was amazed, and said, "I did not send for a superintendent, but
for a barber." And when he was asked what he made by his business, he
answered that he every day made enough to keep twenty persons, and as
many horses, and also a large annual income, besides many sources of
accidental gain.

10. And Julian, angry at this, expelled all the men of this trade, and
the cooks, and all who made similar profits, as of no use to him,
telling them, however, to go where they pleased.


§ 1. And although from his earliest childhood he was inclined to the
worship of the gods,[121] and gradually, as he grew up, became more
attached to it, yet he was influenced by many apprehensions which made
him act in things relating to that subject as secretly as he could.

2. But when his fears were terminated, and he found himself at liberty
to do what he pleased, he then showed his secret inclinations, and by
plain and positive decrees ordered the temples to be opened, and victims
to be brought to the altars for the worship of the gods.

3. And in order to give more effect to his intentions, he ordered the
priests of the different Christian sects, with the adherents of each
sect, to be admitted into the palace, and in a constitutional spirit
expressed his wish that their dissensions being appeased, each without
any hindrance might fearlessly follow the religion he preferred.

4. He did this the more resolutely because, as long licence increased
their dissensions, he thought he should never have to fear the unanimity
of the common people, having found by experience that no wild beasts are
so hostile to men as Christian sects in general are to one another. And
he often used to say, "Listen to me, to whom the Allemanni and Franks
have listened;" imitating in this an expression of the ancient emperor
Marcus Aurelius. But he omitted to notice that there was a great
difference between himself and his predecessor.

5. For when Marcus was passing through Palestine, on his road to Egypt,
he is said, when wearied by the dirt and rebellious spirit of the Jews,
to have often exclaimed with sorrow, "O Marcomanni, O Quadi, O
Sarmatians, I have at last found others worse than you!"


§ 1. About the same time many Egyptians, excited by various rumours,
arrived at Constantinople; a race given to controversy, and extremely
addicted to habits of litigation, covetous, and apt to ask payment of
debts due to them over and over again; and also, by way of escaping from
making the payments due to them, to accuse the rich of embezzlement, and
the tax-gatherers of extortion.

2. These men, collecting into one body, came screeching like so many
jackdaws, claiming in a rude manner the attention of the emperor
himself, and of the prefects of the prætorium, and demanding the
restoration of the contributions which they had been compelled to
furnish, justly or unjustly, for the last seventy years.

3. And as they hindered the transaction of any other business, Julian
issued an edict in which he ordered them all to go to Chalcedon,
promising that he himself also would soon come there, and settle all
their business.

4. And when they had gone, an order was given to all the captains of
ships which go to and fro, that none of them should venture to take an
Egyptian for a passenger. And as this command was carefully observed,
their obstinacy in bringing false accusations came to an end, and they
all, being disappointed in their object, returned home.

5. After which, as if at the dictation of justice herself, a law was
published forbidding any one to exact from any officer the restitution
of things which that officer had legally received.


A.D. 362.

§ 1. At the beginning of the new year, when the consular records had
received the names of Mamertinus and Nevitta, the prince humbled himself
by walking in their train with other men of high rank; an act which some
praised, while others blame it as full of affectation, and mean.

2. Afterwards, when Mamertinus was celebrating the Circensian games,
Julian, following an ancient fashion, manumitted some slaves, who were
introduced by the consul's officer; but afterwards, being informed that
on that day the supreme jurisdiction belonged to another, he fined
himself ten pounds of gold as an offender.

3. At the same time he was a continual attendant in the court of
justice, settling many actions which were brought in all kinds of cases.
One day while he was sitting as judge, the arrival of a certain
philosopher from Asia named Maximus, was announced, on which he leapt
down from the judgment seat in an unseemly manner, and forgetting
himself so far as to run at full speed from the hall, he kissed him, and
received him with great reverence, and led him into the palace,
appearing by this unseasonable ostentation a seeker of empty glory, and
forgetful of those admirable words of Cicero, which describe people like

4. "Those very philosophers inscribe their names on the identical books
which they write about the contempt of glory, in order that they may be
named and extolled in that very thing in which they proclaim their
contempt for mention and for praise."[122]

5. Not long afterwards, two of the secretaries who had been banished
came to him, boldly promising to point out the hiding-place of
Florentius if he would restore them to their rank in the army; but he
abused them, and called them informers; adding that it did not become an
emperor to be led by underhand information to bring back a man who had
concealed himself out of fear of death, and who perhaps would not long
be left in his retreat unpardoned.

6. On all these occasions Prætextatus was present, a senator of a noble
disposition and of old-fashioned dignity; who at that time had come to
Constantinople on his own private affairs, and whom Julian by his own
choice selected as governor of Achaia with the rank of proconsul.

7. Still, while thus diligent in correcting civil evils, Julian did not
omit the affairs of the army: continually appointing over the soldiers
officers of long-tried worth; repairing the exterior defences of all the
cities throughout Thrace, and taking great care that the soldiers on the
banks of the Danube, who were exposed to the attacks of the barbarians,
and who, as he heard were doing their duty with vigilance and courage,
should never be in want of arms, clothes, pay, or provisions.

8. And while superintending these matters he allowed nothing to be done
carelessly: and when those about him advised him to attack the Gauls as
neighbours who were always deceitful and perfidious, he said he wished
for more formidable foes; for that the Gallic merchants were enough for
them, who sold them at all times without any distinction of rank.

9. While he gave his attention to these and similar matters, his fame
was spreading among foreign nations for courage, temperance, skill in
war, and eminent endowments of every kind of virtue, so that he
gradually became renowned throughout the whole world.

10. And as the fear of his approach pervaded both neighbouring and
distant countries, embassies hastened to him with unusual speed from all
quarters at one time; the people beyond the Tigris and the Armenians
sued for peace. At another the Indian tribes vied with each other,
sending nobles loaded with gifts even from the Maldive Islands and
Ceylon; from the south the Moors offered themselves as subjects of the
Roman empire; from the north, and also from those hot climates through
which the Phasis passes on its way to the sea, and from the people of
the Bosphorus, and from other unknown tribes came ambassadors entreating
that on the payment of annual duties they might be allowed to live in
peace within their native countries.


§ 1. The time is now appropriate, in my opinion, since in treating of
this mighty prince we are come to speak of these districts, to explain
perspicuously what we have learnt by our own eyesight or by reading,
about the frontiers of Thrace and the situation of the Black Sea.

2. The lofty mountains of Athos in Macedonia, once made passable for
ships by the Persians, and the Euboean rocky promontory of Caphareus,
where Nauplius the father of Palamedes wrecked the Grecian fleet, though
far distant from one another, separate the Ægean from the Thessalian
Sea, which, extending as it proceeds, on the right, where it is widest,
is full of the Sporades and Cyclades islands, which latter are so called
because they lie round Delos, an island celebrated as the birthplace of
the gods; on the left it washes Imbros, Tenedos, Lemnos, and Thasos; and
when agitated by any gale it beats violently on Lesbos.

3. From thence, with a receding current, it flows past the temple of
Apollo Sminthius, and Troas, and Troy, renowned for the adventures of
heroes; and on the west it forms the Gulf of Melas, near the head of
which is seen Abdera, the abode of Protagoras and Democritus; and the
blood-stained seat of the Thracian Diomede; and the valleys through
which the Maritza flows on its way to its waves; and Maronea, and Ænus,
founded under sad auspices and soon deserted by Æneas, when under the
guidance of the gods he hastened onwards to ancient Italy.

4. After this it narrows gradually, and, as if by a kind of natural wish
to mingle with its waters, it rushes towards the Black Sea; and taking
a portion of it forms a figure like the Greek φ. Then
separating the Hellespont from Mount Rhodope, it passes by
Cynossema,[123] where Hecuba is supposed to be buried, and Cæla, and
Sestos, and Callipolis, and passing by the tombs of Ajax and Achilles,
it touches Dardanus and Abydos (where Xerxes, throwing a bridge across,
passed over the waters on foot), and Lampsacus, given to Themistocles by
the king of Persia; and Parion, founded by Parius the son of Jason.

5. Then curving round in a semicircle and separating the opposite lands
more widely in the round gulf of the sea of Marmora, it washes on the
east Cyzicus, and Dindyma, the holy seat of the mighty mother Cybele,
and Apamia, and Cius, and Astacus afterwards called Nicomedia from the
King Nicomedes.

6. On the west it beats against the Chersonese, Ægospotami where
Anaxagoras predicted that stones would fall from heaven, and Lysimachia,
and the city which Hercules founded and consecrated to the memory of his
comrade Perinthus. And in order to preserve the full and complete figure
of the letter φ, in the very centre of the circular gulf lies
the oblong island of Proconnesus, and also Besbicus.

7. Beyond the upper end of this island the sea again becomes very narrow
where it separates Bithynia from Europe, passing by Chalcedon and
Chrysopolis, and some other places of no importance.

8. Its left shore is looked down upon by Port Athyras and Selymbria, and
Constantinople, formerly called Byzantium, a colony of the Athenians,
and Cape Ceras, having at its extremity a lofty tower to serve as a
lighthouse to ships--from which cape also a very cold wind which often
arises from that point is called Ceratas.

9. The sea thus broken, and terminated by mingling with the seas at each
end, and now becoming very calm, spreads out into wider waters, as far
as the eye can reach both in length and breadth. Its entire circuit, if
one should measure it as one would measure an island, sailing along its
shores, is 23,000 furlongs according to Eratosthenes, Hecatæus, and
Ptolemy, and other accurate investigators of subjects of this kind,
resembling, by the consent of all geographers, a Scythian bow, held at
both ends by its string.

10. When the sun rises from the eastern ocean, it is shut in by the
marshes of the Sea of Azov. On the west it is bounded by the Roman
provinces. On the north lie many tribes differing in language and
manners; its southern side describes a gentle curve.

11. Over this extended space are dispersed many Greek cities, which have
for the most part been founded by the people of Miletus, an Athenian
colony, long since established in Asia among the other Ionians by
Nileus, the son of the famous Codrus, who is said to have devoted
himself to his country in the Doric war.

12. The thin extremities of the bow at each end are commanded by the two
Bospori, the Thracian and Cimmerian, placed opposite to one another; and
they are called Bospori because through them the daughter of
Inachus,[124] who was changed (as the poets relate) into a cow, passed
into the Ionian sea.

13. The right curve of the Thracian Bosphorus is covered by a side of
Bithynia, formerly called Mygdonia, of which province Thynia and
Mariandena are districts; as also is Bebrycia, the inhabitants of which
were delivered from the cruelty of Amycus by the valour of Pollux; and
also the remote spot in which the soothsayer Phineus was terrified by
the threatening flight of the Harpies.

14. The shores are curved into several long bays, into which fall the
rivers Sangarius, and Phyllis, and Bizes, and Rebas; and opposite to
them at the lower end are the Symplegades, two rocks which rise into
abrupt peaks, and which in former times were accustomed to dash against
one another with a fearful crash, and then rebounding with a sharp
spring, to recoil once more against the object already struck. Even a
bird could by no speed of its wings pass between these rocks as they
pass and meet again without being crushed to death.

15. These rocks, when the Argo, the first of all ships, hastening to
Colchis to carry off the golden fleece, had passed unhurt by them, stood
immovable for the future, the power of the whirlwind which used to
agitate them being broken; and are now so firmly united that no one who
saw them now would believe that they had ever been separated; if all the
poems of the ancients did not agree on the point.

16. After this portion of Bithynia, the next provinces are Pontus and
Paphlagonia, in which are the noble cities of Heraclea, and Sinope, and
Polemonium, and Amisus, and Tios, and Amastris, all originally founded
by the energy of the Greeks; and Cerasus, from which Lucullus brought
the cherry, and two lofty islands which contain the famous cities of
Trapezus and Pityus.

17. Beyond these places is the Acherusian cave, which the natives call
Μυχοπόντιον; and the harbour of Acone, and several rivers, the
Acheron, the Arcadius, the Iris, the Tibris, and near to that the
Parthenius, all of which proceed with a rapid stream into the sea. Close
to them is the Thermodon, which rises in Mount Armonius, and flows
through the forest of Themiscyra, to which necessity formerly compelled
the Amazons to migrate.

18. The Amazons, as may be here explained, after having ravaged their
neighbours by bloody inroads, and overpowered them by repeated defeats,
began to entertain greater projects; and perceiving their own strength
to be superior to their neighbours', and being continually covetous of
their possessions, they forced their way through many nations, and
attacked the Athenians. But they were routed in a fierce battle, and
their flanks being uncovered by cavalry, they all perished.

19. When their destruction became known, the rest, who had been left at
home as unwarlike, were reduced to the last extremities; and fearing the
attacks of their neighbours, who would now retaliate on them, they
removed to the more quiet district of the Thermodon. And after a long
time, their posterity again becoming numerous, returned in great force
to their native regions, and became in later ages formidable to the
people of many nations.

20. Not far from hence is the gentle hill Carambis, on the north,
opposite to which, at a distance of 2,500 furlongs, is the Criu-Metopon,
a promontory of Taurica. From this spot the whole of the sea-coast,
beginning at the river Halys, is like the chord of an arc fastened at
both ends.

21. On the frontiers of this district are the Dahæ,[125] the fiercest
of all warriors; and the Chalybes, the first people who dug up iron, and
wrought it to the use of man. Next to them lies a large plain occupied
by the Byzares, the Saqires, the Tibareni, the Mosynæci, the Macrones
and the Philyres, tribes with which we have no intercourse.

22. And at a small distance from them are some monuments of heroes,
where Sthenelus, Idmon, and Tiphys are buried, the first being that one
of Hercules's comrades who was mortally wounded in the war with the
Amazons; the second the soothsayer of the Argonauts; the third the
skilful pilot of the crew.

23. After passing by the aforesaid districts, we come to the cave Aulon,
and the river of Callichorus, which derives its name from the fact that
when Bacchus, having subdued the nations of India in a three years' war,
came into those countries, he chose the green and shady banks of this
river for the re-establishment of his ancient orgies and dances; and
some think that such festivals as these were those called

24. Next to these frontiers come the famous cantons of the Camaritæ, and
the Phasis, which with its roaring streams reaches the Colchi, a race
descended from the Egyptians; among whom, besides other cities, is one
called Phasis from the name of the river; and Dioscurias,[127] still
famous, which is said to have been founded by the Spartans Amphitus and
Cercius, the charioteers of Castor and Pollux; from whom the nation of
Heniochi[128] derives its origin.

25. At a little distance from these are the Achæi, who after some
earlier Trojan war, and not that which began about Helen, as some
authors have affirmed, were driven into Pontus by foul winds, and, as
all around was hostile, so that they could nowhere find a settled abode,
they always stationed themselves on the tops of snowy mountains; and,
under the pressure of an unfavourable climate they contracted a habit of
living on plunder in contempt of all danger; and thus became the most
ferocious of all nations. Of the Cercetæ, who lie next to them, nothing
is known worth speaking of.

26. Behind them lie the inhabitants of the Cimmerian Bosphorus, living
in cities founded by the Milesiani, the chief of which is Panticapæum,
which is on the Bog a river of great size, both from its natural waters
and the streams which fall into it.

27. Then for a great distance the Amazons stretch as far as the Caspian
sea; occupying the banks of the Don, which rises in Mount Caucasus, and
proceeds in a winding course, separating Asia from Europe, and falls
into the swampy sea of Azov.

28. Near to this is the Rha, on the banks of which grows a vegetable of
the same name, which is useful as a remedy for many diseases.

29. Beyond the Don, taking the plain in its width, lie the Sauromatæ,
whose land is watered by the never-failing rivers Maræcus, Rhombites,
Theophanes, and Totordanes. And there is at a vast distance another
nation also known as Sauromatæ, touching the shore at the point where
the river Corax falls into the sea.

30. Near to this is the sea of Azov, of great extent, from the abundant
sources of which a great body of water pours through the straits of
Patares, near the Black Sea; on the right are the islands Phanagorus and
Hermonassa, which have been settled by the industry of the Greeks.

31. Round the furthest extremity of this gulf dwell many tribes
differing from one another in language and habits; the Jaxamatæ, the
Mæotæ, the Jazyges, the Roxolani, the Alani, the Melanchlænæ, the
Geloni, and the Agathyrsi, whose land abounds in adamant.

32. And there are others beyond, who are the most remote people of the
whole world. On the left side of this gulf lies the Crimea, full of
Greek colonies; the people of which are quiet and steady: they practise
agriculture, and live on the produce of the land.

33. From them the Tauri, though at no great distance, are separated by
several kingdoms, among which are the Arinchi, a most savage tribe, the
Sinchi, and the Napæi, whose cruelty, being aggravated by continual
licence, is the reason why the sea is called the Inhospitable,[129]
from which by the rule of contrary it gets the name of the Euxine, just
as the Greeks call a fool εὐήθης, and night εὐθρόνη,
and the furies, the Εὐμενίδες.

34. For they propitiated the gods with human victims, sacrificing
strangers to Diana, whom they call Oreiloche, and fix the heads of the
slain on the walls of their temples, as perpetual monuments of their

35. In this kingdom of the Tauri lies the uninhabited island of Leuce,
which is consecrated to Achilles; and if any ever visit it, as soon as
they have examined the traces of antiquity, and the temple and offerings
dedicated to the hero, they return the same evening to their ships, as
it is said that no one can pass the night there without danger to his

36. There is water there, and white birds like kingfishers, the origin
of which, and the battles of the Hellespont, we will discuss at a proper
time. And there are some cities in this region of which the most eminent
are Eupatoria, Dandaca, and Theodosia, and several others which are free
from the wickedness of human sacrifices.

37. Up to this we reckon that one of the extremities of the arc extends.
We will now follow, as order suggests, the rest of the curve which
extends towards the north, along the left side of the Thracian
Bosphorus, just reminding the reader that while the bows of all other
nations bend along the whole of their material, those of the Scythians
and Parthians have a straight rounded line in the centre, from which
they curve their spreading horns so as to present the figure of the
waning moon.

38. At the very beginning then of this district, where the Rhipæan
mountains end, lie the Arimphæi, a just people known for their quiet
character, whose land is watered by the rivers Chronius and Bisula; and
next to them are the Massagetæ, the Alani, and the Sargetæ, and several
other tribes of little note, of whom we know neither the names nor the

39. Then, a long way off, is the bay Carcinites, and a river of the
same name, and a grove of Diana, frequented by many votaries in those

40. After that we come to the Dnieper (Borysthenes), which rises in the
mountains of the Neuri; a river very large at its first beginning, and
which increases by the influx of many other streams, till it falls into
the sea with great violence; on its woody banks is the town of
Borysthenes, and Cephalonesus, and some altars consecrated to Alexander
the Great and Augustus Cæsar.

41. Next, at a great distance, is an island inhabited by the Sindi, a
tribe of low-born persons, who upon the overthrow of their lords and
masters in Asia, took possession of their wives and properties. Below
them is a narrow strip of coast called by the natives the Course of
Achilles, having been made memorable in olden time by the exercises of
the Thessalian chief, and next to that is the city of Tyros, a colony of
the Phoenicians, watered by the river Dniester.

42. But in the middle of the arc which we have described as being of an
extended roundness, and which takes an active traveller fifteen days to
traverse, are the Europæan Alani, the Costoboci, and the countless
tribes of the Scythians, who extend over territories which have no
ascertained limit; a small part of whom live on grain. But the rest
wander over vast deserts, knowing neither ploughtime nor seedtime; but
living in cold and frost, and feeding like great beasts. They place
their relations, their homes, and their wretched furniture on waggons
covered with bark, and, whenever they choose, they migrate without
hindrance, driving off these waggons wherever they like.

43. When one arrives at another point of the circuit where there is a
harbour, which bounds the figure of the arc at that extremity, the
island Peuce is conspicuous, inhabited by the Troglodytæ, and Peuci, and
other inferior tribes, and we come also to Histros, formerly a city of
great power, and to Tomi, Apollonia, Anchialos, Odissos, and many others
on the Thracian coast.

44. But the Danube, rising near Basle on the borders of the Tyrol,
extending over a wider space, and receiving on his way nearly sixty
navigable rivers, pours through the Scythian territory by seven mouths
into the Black Sea.

45. The first mouth (according to the Greek interpretation of the
names) is at the island of Peuce, which we have mentioned; the second is
at Naracustoma, the third at Calonstoma, the fourth at Pseudostoma. The
Boreonstoma and the Sthenostoma, are much smaller, and the seventh is
large and black-looking like a bog.

46. But the whole sea, all around, is full of mists and shoals, and is
sweeter than seas in general, because by the evaporation of moisture the
air is often thick and dense, and its waters are tempered by the
immensity of the rivers which fall into it; and it is full of shifting
shallows, because the number of the streams which surround it pour in
mud and lumps of soil.

47. And it is well known that fish flock in large shoals to its most
remote extremities that they may spawn and rear their young more
healthfully, in consequence of the salubrity of the water; while the
hollow caverns, which are very numerous there, protect them from
voracious monsters. For nothing of the kind is ever seen in this sea,
except some small dolphins, and they do no harm.

48. Now the portions of the Black Sea which are exposed to the north
wind are so thoroughly frozen that, while the rivers, as it is believed,
cannot continue their course beneath the ice, yet neither can the foot
of beast or man proceed firmly over the treacherous and shifting ground;
a fault which is never found in a pure sea, but only in one of which the
waters are mingled with those of rivers. We have digressed more than we
had intended, so now let us turn back to what remains to be told.

49. Another circumstance came to raise Julian's present joy, one which
indeed had been long expected, but which had been deferred by all manner
of delays. For intelligence was brought by Agilo and Jovius, who was
afterwards quæstor, that the garrison of Aquileia, weary of the length
of the siege, and having heard of the death of Constantius, had opened
their gates and come forth, delivering up the authors of the revolt; and
that, after they had been burnt alive, as has been related, the rest had
obtained pardon for their offences.


§ 1. But Julian, elated at his prosperity, began to aspire to greatness
beyond what is granted to man: amid continual dangers he had learnt by
experience that propitious fortune held out to him, thus peacefully
governing the Roman world, a cornucopia as it were of human blessings
and all kinds of glory and success: adding this also to his former
titles of victory, that while he alone held the reins of empire he was
neither disturbed by intestine commotions, nor did any barbarians
venture to cross his frontiers; but all nations, eager at all times to
find fault with what is past, as mischievous and unjust, were with
marvellous unanimity agreed in his praises.

2. Having therefore arranged with profound deliberation all the matters
which were required either by the circumstances of the state or by the
time, and, having encouraged the soldiers by repeated harangues and by
adequate pay to be active in accomplishing all that was to be done,
Julian, being in great favour with all men, set out for Antioch, leaving
Constantinople, which he had greatly strengthened and enriched; for he
had been born there, and loved and protected it as his native city.

3. Then crossing the straits, and passing by Chalcedon and Libyssa,
where Hannibal the Carthaginian is buried, he came to Nicomedia; a city
of ancient renown, and so adorned at the great expense of former
emperors, that from the multitude of its public and private buildings
good judges look on it as a quarter, as it were, of the eternal city.

4. When Julian beheld its walls buried in miserable ashes, he showed the
anguish of his mind by silent tears, and went slowly on towards the
palace; especially lamenting its misfortunes, because the senators who
came out to meet him were in poor-looking condition, as well as the
people who had formerly been most prosperous; some of them he recognized
having been brought up there by the bishop Eusebius, of whom he was a
distant relation.

5. Having here made many arrangements for repairing the damage done by
an earthquake, he passed through Nisæa to the frontier of Gallo-Græcia,
and then turning to the right, he went to Pessinus, to see the ancient
temple of Cybele; from which town in the second Punic war, in accordance
with the warning of the Sibylline verses, the image of the goddess was
removed to Rome by Scipio Nasica.

6. Of its arrival in Italy, with many other matters connected with it,
we made mention in recording the acts of the emperor Commodus; but as to
what the reason was for the town receiving this name writers differ.

7. For some have declared that the city was so called ἀπὸ τοῦ πεσῖν,
from falling; inventing a tale that the statue fell from
heaven; others affirm that Ilus, the son of Tros, king of Dardania, gave
the place this name, which Theopompus says it received not from this,
but from Midas, formerly a most powerful king of Phrygia.

8. Accordingly, having paid his worship to the goddess, and propitiated
her with sacrifices and prayers, he returned to Ancyra; and as he was
proceeding on this way from thence he was disturbed by a multitude; some
violently demanding the restoration of what had been taken from them,
others complaining that they had been unjustly attached to different
courts; some, regardless of the risk they ran, tried to enrage him
against their adversaries, by charging them with treason.

9. But he, a sterner judge than Cassius or Lycurgus, weighed the charges
with justice, and gave each his due; never being swayed from the truth,
but very severe to calumniators, whom he hated, because he himself,
while still a private individual and of low estate, had often
experienced the petulant frenzy of many in a way which placed him in
great danger.

10. And though there are many other examples of his patience in such
matters, it will suffice to relate one here. A certain man laid an
information against his enemy, with whom he had a most bitter quarrel,
affirming that he had been guilty of outrage and sedition; and when the
emperor concealed his own opinion, he renewed the charge for several
days, and when at last he was asked who the man was whom he was
accusing, he replied, a rich citizen. When the emperor heard this he
smiled and said, "What proof led you to the discovery of this conduct of
his?" He replied, "The man has had made for himself a purple silk robe."

11. And on this, being ordered to depart in silence, and though
unpunished as a low fellow who was accusing one of his own class of too
difficult an enterprise to be believed, he nevertheless insisted on the
truth of the accusation, till Julian, being wearied by his pertinacity,
said to the treasurer, whom he saw near him, "Bid them give this
dangerous chatterer some purple shoes to take to his enemy, who, as he
gives me to understood, has made himself a robe of that colour; that so
he may know how little a worthless piece of cloth can help a man,
without the greatest strength."

12. But as such conduct as this is praiseworthy and deserving the
imitation of virtuous rulers, so it was a sad thing and deserving of
censure, that in his time it was very hard for any one who was accused
by any magistrate to obtain justice, however fortified he might be by
privileges, or the number of his campaigns, or by a host of friends. So
that many persons being alarmed bought off all such annoyances by secret

13. Therefore, when after a long journey he had reached Pylæ, a place on
the frontiers of Cappadocia and Cilicia, he received the ruler of the
province, Celsus, already known to him by his Attic studies, with a
kiss, and taking him up into his chariot conducted him with him into

14. From hence, desiring to see Antioch, the splendid metropolis of the
East, he went thither by the usual stages, and when he came near the
city he was received as if he had been a god, with public prayers, so
that he marvelled at the voices of the vast multitude, who cried out
that he had come to shine like a star on the Eastern regions.

15. It happened that just at that time, the annual period for the
celebration of the festival of Adonis, according to the old fashion,
came round; the story being, as the poets relate, that Adonis had been
loved by Venus, and slain by a boar's tusk, which is an emblem of the
fruits of the earth being cut down in their prime. And it appeared a sad
thing that when the emperor was now for the first time making his
entrance into a splendid city, the abode of princes, wailing
lamentations and sounds of mourning should be heard in every direction.

16. And here was seen a proof of his gentle disposition, shown indeed
in a trifling, but very remarkable instance. He had long hated a man
named Thalassius, an officer in one of the law courts, as having been
concerned in plots against his brother Gallus. He prohibited him from
paying his salutations to him and presenting himself among the men of
rank; which encouraged his enemies against whom he had actions in the
courts of law, the next day, when a great crowd was collected in the
presence of the emperor, to cry out, "Thalassius, the enemy of your
clemency, has violently deprived us of our rights;" and Julian, thinking
that this was an opportunity for crushing him, replied, "I acknowledge
that I am justly offended with the man whom you mention, and so you
ought to keep silence till he has made satisfaction to me who am his
principal enemy." And he commanded the prefect who was sitting by him
not to hear their business till he himself was recognized by Thalassius,
which happened soon afterwards.


§ 1. While wintering at Antioch, according to his wish, he yielded to
none of the allurements of pleasure in which all Syria abounds; but
under pretence of repose, he devoted himself to judicial affairs, which
are not less difficult than those of war, and in which he expended
exceeding care, showing exquisite willingness to receive information,
and carefully balancing how to assign to every one his due. And by his
just sentence the wicked were chastised with moderate punishments, and
the innocent were maintained in the undiminished possession of their

2. And although in the discussion of causes he was often unreasonable,
asking at unsuitable times to what religion each of the litigants
adhered, yet none of his decisions were found inconsistent with equity,
nor could he ever be accused, either from considerations of religion or
of anything else, of having deviated from the strict path of justice.

3. For that is a desirable and right judgment which proceeds from
repeated examinations of what is just and unjust. Julian feared anything
which might lead him away from such, as a sailor fears dangerous rocks;
and he was the better able to attain to correctness, because, knowing
the levity of his own impetuous disposition, he used to permit the
prefects and his chosen counsellors to check, by timely admonition, his
own impulses when they were inclined to stray; and he continually showed
that he was vexed if he committed errors, and was desirous of being

4. And when the advocates in some actions were once applauding him
greatly as one who had attained to perfect wisdom, he is said to have
exclaimed with much emotion, "I was glad and made it my pride to be
praised by those whom I knew to be competent to find fault with me, if I
had said or done anything wrong."

5. But it will be sufficient out of the many instances of his clemency
which he afforded in judging causes to mention this one, which is not
irrelevant to our subject or insignificant. A certain woman being
brought before the court, saw that her adversary, formerly one of the
officers of the palace, but who had been displaced, was now, contrary to
her expectation, re-established and girt in his official dress,
complained in a violent manner of this circumstance; and the emperor
replied, "Proceed, O woman, if you think that you have been injured in
any respect; he is girt as you see in order to go more quickly through
the mire; your cause will not suffer from it."

6. And these and similar actions led to the belief, as he was constantly
saying, that that ancient justice which Aratus states to have fled to
heaven in disgust at the vices of mankind, had returned to earth; only
that sometimes he acted according to his own will rather than according
to law, making mistakes which somewhat darkened the glorious course of
his renown.

7. After many trials he corrected numerous abuses in the laws, cutting
away circuitous proceedings, and making the enactments show more plainly
what they commanded or forbade. But his forbidding masters of rhetoric
and grammar to instruct Christians was a cruel action, and one deserving
to be buried in everlasting silence.


§ 1. At this time, Gaudentius the secretary, whom I have mentioned above
as having been sent by Constantius to oppose Julian in Africa, and a man
of the name of Julian, who had been a deputy governor, and who was an
intemperate partisan of the late emperor, were brought back as
prisoners, and put to death.

2. And at the same time, Artemius, who had been Duke of Egypt, and
against whom the citizens of Alexandria brought a great mass of heavy
accusations, was also put to death, and the son of Marcellus too, who
had been commander both of the infantry and of the cavalry, was publicly
executed as one who had aspired to the empire by force of arms. Romanus,
too, and Vincentius, the tribunes of the first and second battalion of
the Scutarii, being convicted of aiming at things beyond their due, were

3. And after a short time, when the death of Artemius was known, the
citizens of Alexandria who had feared his return, lest, as he
threatened, he should come back among them with power, and avenge
himself on many of them for the offences which he had received, now
turned all their anger against George, the bishop, by whom they had, so
to say, been often attacked with poisonous bites.

4. George having been born in a fuller's shop, as was reported, in
Epiphania, a town of Cilicia, and having caused the ruin of many
individuals, was, contrary both to his own interest and to that of the
commonwealth, ordained bishop of Alexandria, a city which from its own
impulses, and without any special cause, is continually agitated by
seditious tumults, as the oracles also show.

5. Men of this irritable disposition were readily incensed by George,
who accused numbers to the willing ears of Constantius, as being opposed
to his authority; and, forgetting his profession, which ought to give no
counsel but what is just and merciful, he adopted all the wicked acts of

6. And among other things he was reported to have maliciously informed
Constantius that in that city all the edifices which had been built by
Alexander, its founder, at vast public expense, ought properly to be a
source of emolument to the treasury.

7. To these wicked suggestions he added this also, which soon afterwards
led to his destruction. As he was returning from court, and passing by
the superb temple of the Genius, escorted by a large train, as was his
custom, he turned his eyes towards the temple, and said, "How long shall
this sepulchre stand?" And the multitude, hearing this, was
thunderstruck, and fearing that he would seek to destroy this also,
laboured to the utmost of their power to effect his ruin by secret

8. When suddenly there came the joyful news that Artemius was dead; on
which all the populace, triumphing with unexpected joy, gnashed their
teeth, and with horrid outcries set upon George, trampling upon him and
kicking him, and tearing him to pieces with every kind of mutilation.

9. With him also, Dracontius, the master of the mint, and a count named
Diodorus, were put to death, and dragged with ropes tied to their legs
through the street; the one because he had overthrown the altar lately
set up in the mint, of which he was governor; the other because while
superintending the building of a church, he insolently cut off the curls
of the boys, thinking thus to affect the worship of the gods.

10. But the savage populace were not content with this; but having
mutilated their bodies, put them on camels and conveyed them to the
shore, where they burnt them and threw the ashes into the sea; fearing,
as they exclaimed, lest their remains should be collected and a temple
raised over them, as the relics of men who, being urged to forsake their
religion, had preferred to endure torturing punishments even to a
glorious death, and so, by keeping their faith inviolate, earning the
appellation of martyrs. In truth the wretched men who underwent such
cruel punishment might have been protected by the aid of the Christians,
if both parties had not been equally exasperated by hatred of George.

11. When this event reached the emperor's ears, he roused himself to
avenge the impious deed; but when about to inflict the extremity of
punishment on the guilty, he was appeased by the intercession of those
about him, and contented himself with issuing an edict in which he
condemned the crime which had been committed in stern language, and
threatening all with the severest vengeance if anything should be
attempted for the future contrary to the principles of justice and law.


§ 1. In the mean time, while preparing the expedition against the
Persians, which he had long been meditating with all the vigour of his
mind, he resolved firmly to avenge their past victories; hearing from
others, and knowing by his own experience, that for nearly sixty years
that most ferocious people had stamped upon the East bloody records of
massacre and ravage, many of our armies having often been entirely
destroyed by them.

2. And he was inflamed with a desire for the war on two grounds: first,
because he was weary of peace, and dreaming always of trumpets and
battles; and secondly, because, having been in his youth exposed to the
attacks of savage nations, the wishes of whose kings and princes were
already turning against us, and whom, as was believed, it would be
easier to conquer than to reduce to the condition of suppliants, he was
eager to add to his other glories the surname of Parthieus.

3. But when his inactive and malicious detractors saw that these
preparations were being pressed forward with great speed and energy,
they cried out that it was an unworthy and shameful thing for such
unseasonable troubles to be caused by the change of a single prince, and
laboured with all their zeal to postpone the campaign; and they were in
the habit of saying, in the presence of those whom they thought likely
to report their words to the emperor, that, unless he conducted himself
with moderation during his excess of prosperity, he, like an
over-luxuriant crop, would soon be destroyed by his own fertility.

4. And they were continually propagating sayings of this kind, barking
in vain at the inflexible prince with secret attacks, as the Pygmies or
the clown Thiodamas of Lindus assailed Hercules.

5. But he, as more magnanimous, allowed no delay to take place, nor any
diminution in the magnitude of his expedition, but devoted the most
energetic care to prepare everything suitable for such an enterprise.

6. He offered repeated victims on the altars of the gods; sometimes
sacrificing one hundred bulls, and countless flocks of animals of all
kinds, and white birds, which he sought for everywhere by land, and sea;
so that every day individual soldiers who had stuffed themselves like
boors with too much meat, or who were senseless from the eagerness with
which they had drunk, were placed on the shoulders of passers-by, and
carried to their homes through the streets from the public temples where
they had indulged in feasts which deserved punishment rather than
indulgence. Especially the Petulantes and the Celtic legion, whose
audacity at this time had increased to a marvellous degree.

7. And rites and ceremonies were marvellously multiplied with a vastness
of expense hitherto unprecedented; and, as it was now allowed without
hindrance, every one professed himself skilful in divination, and all,
whether illiterate or learned, without any limit or any prescribed
order, were permitted to consult the oracles, and to inspect the
entrails of victims; and omens from the voice of birds, and every kind
of sign of the future, was sought for with an ostentatious variety of

8. And while this was going on, as if it were a time of profound peace,
Julian, being curious in all such branches of learning, entered on a new
path of divination. He proposed to reopen the prophetic springs of the
fountain of Castalia, which Hadrian was said to have blocked up with a
huge mass of stones, fearing lest, as he himself had attained the
sovereignty through obedience to the predictions of these waters, others
might learn a similar lesson; and Julian immediately ordered the bodies
which had been buried around it to be removed with the same ceremonies
as those with which the Athenians had purified the island of Delos.


§ 1. About the same time, on the 22nd of October, the splendid temple of
Apollo, at Daphne, which that furious and cruel king Antiochus Epiphanes
had built with the statue of the god, equal in size to that of Olympian
Jupiter, was suddenly burnt down.

2. This terrible accident inflamed the emperor with such anger, that he
instantly ordered investigations of unprecedented severity to be
instituted, and the chief church of Antioch to be shut up. For he
suspected that the Christians had done it out of envy, not being able to
bear the sight of the magnificent colonnade which surrounded the temple.

3. But it was reported, though the rumour was most vague, that the
temple had been burnt by means of Asclepiades the philosopher, of whom
we have made mention while relating the actions of Magnentius. He is
said to have come to the suburb in which the temple stood to pay a visit
to Julian, and being accustomed to carry with him wherever he went a
small silver statue of the Heavenly Venus, he placed it at the feet of
the image of Apollo, and then, according to his custom, having lighted
wax tapers in front of it, he went away. At midnight, when no one was
there to give any assistance, some sparks flying about stuck to the aged
timbers; and from that dry fuel a fire was kindled which burnt
everything it could reach, however separated from it by the height of
the building.

4. The same year also, just as winter was approaching, there was a
fearful scarcity of water, so that some rivers were dried up, and
fountains too, which had hitherto abounded with copious springs. But
afterwards they all were fully restored.

5. And on the second of December, as evening was coming on, all that
remained of Nicomedia was destroyed by an earthquake, and no small
portion of Nicæa.


§ 1. These events caused great concern to the emperor; but still he did
not neglect other affairs of urgency, till the time of entering on his
intended campaign should arrive. But in the midst of his important and
serious concerns, it appeared superfluous that, without any plausible
reason, and out of a mere thirst for popularity, he took measures for
producing cheapness; a thing which often proves contrary to expectation
and produces scarcity and famine.

2. And when the magistrates of Antioch plainly proved to him that his
orders could not be executed, he would not depart from his purpose,
being as obstinate as his brother Gallus, but not bloodthirsty. On which
account, becoming furious against them, as slanderous and obstinate, he
composed a volume of invectives which he called "The Antiochean," or
"Misopogon," enumerating in a bitter spirit all the vices of the city,
and adding others beyond the truth; and when on this he found that many
witticisms were uttered at his expense, he felt compelled to conceal his
feelings for a time; but was full of internal rage.

3. For he was ridiculed as a Cercops;[130] again, as a dwarf spreading
out his narrow shoulders, wearing a beard like that of a goat, and
taking huge strides, as if he had been the brother of Otus and
Ephialtes,[131] whose height Horace speaks of as enormous. At another
time he was "the victim-killer," instead of the worshipper, in allusion
to the numbers of his victims; and this piece of ridicule was seasonable
and deserved, as once out of ostentation he was fond of carrying the
sacred vessels before the priests, attended by a train of girls. And
although these and similar jests made him very indignant, he
nevertheless kept silence, and concealed his emotions, and continued to
celebrate the solemn festivals.

4. At last, on the day appointed for the holiday, he ascended Mount
Casius, a mountain covered with trees, very lofty, and of a round form;
from which at the second crowing of the cock[132] we can see the sun
rise. And while he was sacrificing to Jupiter, on a sudden he perceived
some one lying on the ground, who, with the voice of a suppliant,
implored pardon and his life; and when Julian asked him who he was, he
replied, that he was Theodotus, formerly the chief magistrate of
Hierapolis, who, when Constantius quitted that city, had escorted him
with other men of rank on his way; basely flattering him as sure to be
victorious; and he had entreated him with feigned tears and lamentations
to send them the head of Julian as that of an ungrateful rebel, in the
same way as he recollected the head of Magnentius had been exhibited.

5. When Julian heard this, he said, "I have heard of this before, from
the relation of several persons. But go thou home in security, being
relieved of all fear by the mercy of the emperor, who, like a wise man,
has resolved to diminish the number of his enemies, and is eager to
increase that of his friends."

6. When he departed, having fully accomplished the sacrifices, letters
were brought to him from the governor of Egypt, who informed him that
after a long time he had succeeded in finding a bull Apis, which he had
been seeking with great labour, a circumstance which, in the opinion of
the inhabitants of those regions, indicates prosperity, abundant crops,
and several other kinds of good fortune.

7. On this subject it seems desirable to say a few words. Among the
animals which have been consecrated by the reverence of the ancients,
Mnevis and Apis are the most eminent. Mnevis, concerning whom there is
nothing remarkable related, is consecrated to the sun, Apis to the moon.
But the bull Apis is distinguished by several natural marks; and
especially by a crescent-shaped figure, like that of a new moon, on his
right side. After living his appointed time, he is drowned in the sacred
fountain (for he is not allowed to live beyond the time fixed by the
sacred authority of their mystical books; nor is a cow brought to him
more than once a year, who also must be distinguished with particular
marks); then another is sought amid great public mourning; and if one
can be found distinguished by all the required marks, he is led to
Memphis, a city of great renown, and especially celebrated for the
patronage of the god Æsculapius.

8. And after he has been led into the city by one hundred priests, and
conducted into a chamber, he is looked upon as consecrated, and is said
to point out by evident means the signs of future events. Some also of
those who come to him he repels by unfavourable signs; as it is reported
he formally rejected Cæsar Germanicus when he offered him food; thus
portending what shortly happened.


§ 1. Let us then, since the occasion seems to require it, touch briefly
on the affairs of Egypt, of which we have already made some mention in
our account of the emperors Hadrian and Severus, where we related
several things which we had seen.[133]

2. The Egyptian is the most ancient of all nations, except indeed that
its superior antiquity is contested by the Scythians: their country is
bounded on the south[134] by the greater Syrtes, Cape Ras, and Cape
Borion, the Garamantes, and other nations; on the east, by Elephantine,
and Meroe, cities of the Ethiopians, the Catadupi, the Red Sea, and the
Scenite Arabs, whom we now call Saracens. On the north it joins a vast
track of land, where Asia and the Syrian provinces begin; on the west it
is bounded by the Sea of Issus, which some call the Parthenian Sea.

3. We will also say a few words concerning that most useful of all
rivers, the Nile, which Homer calls the Ægyptus; and after that we will
enumerate other things worthy of admiration in these regions.

4. The sources of the Nile, in my opinion, will be as unknown to
posterity as they are now. But since poets, who relate fully, and
geographers who differ from one another, give various accounts of this
hidden matter, I will in a few words set forth such of their opinions as
seem to me to border on the truth.

5. Some natural philosophers affirm that in the districts beneath the
North Pole, when the severe winters bind up everything, the vast masses
of snow congeal; and afterwards, melted by the warmth of the summer,
they make the clouds heavy with liquid moisture, which, being driven to
the south by the Etesian winds, and dissolved into rain by the heat of
the sun, furnish abundant increase to the Nile.

6. Some, again, assert that the inundations of the river at fixed times
are caused by the rains in Ethiopia, which fall in great abundance in
that country during the hot season; but both these theories seem
inconsistent with the truth--for rain never falls in Ethiopia, or at
least only at rare intervals.

7. A more common opinion is, that during the continuance of the wind
from the north, called the Precursor, and of the Etesian gales, which
last forty-five days without interruption, they drive back the stream
and check its speed, so that it becomes swollen with its waves thus
dammed back; then, when the wind changes, the force of the breeze drives
the waters to and fro, and the river growing rapidly greater, its
perennial sources driving it forward, it rises as it advances, and
covers everything, spreading over the level plains till it resembles the

8. But King Juba, relying on the text of the Carthaginian books, affirms
that the river rises in a mountain situated in Mauritania, which looks
on the Atlantic Ocean, and he says, too, that this is proved by the fact
that fishes, and herbs, and animals resembling those of the Nile are
found in the marshes where the river rises.

9. But the Nile, passing through the districts of Ethiopia, and many
different countries which give it their own names, swells its
fertilizing stream till it comes to the cataracts. These are abrupt
rocks, from which in its precipitous course it falls with such a crash,
that the Ati, who used to live in that district, having lost their
hearing from the incessant roar, were compelled to migrate to a more
quiet region.

10. Then proceeding more gently, and receiving no accession of waters in
Egypt, it falls into the sea through seven mouths, each of which is as
serviceable as, and resembles, a separate river. And besides the several
streams which are derived from its channel, and which fall with others
like themselves, there are seven navigable with large waves; named by
the ancients the Heracleotic, the Sebennitic, the Bolbitic, the
Phatnitic, the Mendesian, the Tanitic, and the Pelusian mouths.

11. This river, rising as I have said, is driven on from the marshes to
the cataracts, and forms several islands; some of which are said to be
of such extent that the stream is three days in passing them.

12. Among these are two of especial celebrity, Meroe and Delta. The
latter derives its name from its triangular form like the Greek letter;
but when the sun begins to pass through the sign of Cancer, the river
keeps increasing till it passes into Libra; and then, after flowing at a
great height for one hundred days, it falls again, and its waters being
diminished it exhibits, in a state fit for riding on, fields which just
before could only be passed over in boats.

13. If the inundation be too abundant it is mischievous, just as it is
unproductive if it be too sparing; for if the flood be excessive, it
keeps the ground wet too long; and so delays cultivation; while if it be
deficient, it threatens the land with barrenness. No landowner wishes it
to rise more than sixteen cubits. If the flood be moderate, then the
seed sown in favourable ground sometimes returns seventy fold. The Nile,
too, is the only river which does not cause a breeze.

14. Egypt also produces many animals both terrestrial and aquatic, and
some which live both on the earth and in the water, and are therefore
called amphibious. In the dry districts antelopes and buffaloes are
found, and sphinxes, animals of an absurd-looking deformity, and other
monsters which it is not worth while to enumerate.

15. Of the terrestrial animals, the crocodile is abundant in every part
of the country. This is a most destructive quadruped, accustomed to both
elements, having no tongue, and moving only the upper jaw, with teeth
like a comb, which obstinately fasten into everything he can reach. He
propagates his species by eggs like those of a goose.

16. And as he is armed with claws, if he had only thumbs his enormous
strength would suffice to upset large vessels, for he is sometimes ten
cubits long. At night he sleeps under water; in the day he feeds in the
fields, trusting to the stoutness of his skin, which is so thick that
missiles from military engines will scarcely pierce the mail of his

17. Savage as these monsters are at all other times, yet as if they had
concluded an armistice, they are always quiet, laying aside all their
ferocity, during the seven days of festival on which the priests at
Memphis celebrate the birthday of Apis.

18. Besides those which die accidentally, some are killed by wounds
which they receive in their bellies from the dorsal fins of some fish
resembling dolphins, which this river also produces.

19. Some also are killed by means of a little bird called the trochilus,
which, while seeking for some picking of small food, and flying gently
about the beast while asleep, tickles its cheeks till it comes to the
neighbourhood of its throat. And when the hydrus, which is a kind of
ichneumon, perceives this, it penetrates into its mouth, which the bird
has caused to open, and descends into its stomach, where it devours its
entrails, and then comes forth again.

20. But the crocodile, though a bold beast towards those who flee, is
very timid when it finds a brave enemy. It has a most acute sight, and
for the four months of winter is said to do without food.

21. The hippopotamus, also, is produced in this country; the most
sagacious of all animals destitute of reason. He is like a horse, with
cloven hoofs, and a short tail. Of his sagacity it will be sufficient to
produce two instances.

22. The animal makes his lair among dense beds of reeds of great height,
and while keeping quiet watches vigilantly for every opportunity of
sallying out to feed on the crops. And when he has gorged himself, and
is ready to return, he walks backwards, and makes many tracks, to
prevent any enemies from following the straight road and so finding and
easily killing him.

23. Again, when he feels lazy from having his stomach swollen by
excessive eating, it rolls its thighs and legs on freshly-cut reeds, in
order that the blood which is discharged through the wounds thus made
may relieve his fat. And then he smears his wounded flesh with clay till
the wounds get scarred over.

24. This monster was very rare till it was first exhibited to the Roman
people in the ædileship of Scaurus, the father of that Scaurus whom
Cicero defended, when he charged the Sardinians to cherish the same
opinion as the rest of the world of the authority of that noble family.
Since that time, at different periods, many specimens have been brought
to Rome, and now they are not to be found in Egypt, having been driven,
according to the conjecture of the inhabitants, up to the Blemmyæ[135]
by being incessantly pursued by the people.

25. Among the birds of Egypt, the variety of which is countless, is the
ibis, a sacred and amiable bird, also valuable, because by heaping up
the eggs of serpents in its nest for food it causes these fatal pests to

26. They also sometimes encounter flocks of winged snakes, which come
laden with poison from the marshes of Arabia. These, before they can
quit their own region, they overcome in the air, and then devour them.
This bird, we are told, produces its young through its mouth.

27. Egypt also produces innumerable quantities of serpents, destructive
beyond all other creatures. Basilisks, amphisbænas,[136] scytalæ,
acontiæ, dipsades, vipers, and many others. The asp is the largest and
most beautiful of all; but that never, of its own accord, quits the

28. There are also in this country many things exceedingly worthy of
observation, of which it is a good time now to mention a few. Everywhere
there are temples of great size. There are seven marvellous pyramids,
the difficulty of building which, and the length of time consumed in the
work, are recorded by Herodotus. They exceed in height anything ever
constructed by human labour, being towers of vast width at the bottom
and ending in sharp points.

29. And their shape received this name from the geometricians because
they rise in a cone like fire (πῦρ). And huge as they are, as
they taper off gradually, they throw no shadow, in accordance with a
principle of mechanics.

30. There are also subterranean passages, and winding retreats, which,
it is said, men skilful in the ancient mysteries, by means of which they
divined the coming of a flood, constructed in different places lest the
memory of all their sacred ceremonies should be lost. On the walls, as
they cut them out, they have sculptured several kinds of birds and
beasts, and countless other figures of animals, which they call

31. There is also Syene, where at the time of the summer solstice the
rays surrounding upright objects do not allow the shadows to extend
beyond the bodies. And if any one fixes a post upright in the ground, or
sees a man or a tree standing erect, he will perceive that their shadow
is consumed at the extremities of their outlines. This also happens at
Meroe, which is the spot in Ethiopia nearest to the equinoctial circle,
and where for ninety days the shadows fall in a way just opposite to
ours, on account of which the natives of that district are called

32. But as there are many other wonders which would go beyond the plan
of our little work, we must leave these to men of lofty genius, and
content ourselves with relating a few things about the provinces.


§ 1. In former times Egypt is said to have been divided into three
provinces: Egypt proper, the Thebais, and Libya, to which in later times
two more have been added, Augustamnica, which has been cut off from
Egypt proper, and Pentapolis, which has been detached from Libya.

2. Thebais, among many other cities, can boast especially of Hermopolis,
Coptos, and Antinous, which Hadrian built in honour of his friend
Antinous. As to Thebes, with, its hundred gates, there is no one
ignorant of its renown.

3. In Augustamnica, among others, there is the noble city of Pelusium,
which is said to have been founded by Peleus, the father of Achilles,
who by command of the gods was ordered to purify himself in the lake
adjacent to the walls of the city, when, after having slain his brother
Phocus, he was driven about by horrid images of the Furies; and Cassium,
where the tomb of the great Pompey is, and Ostracine, and Rhinocolura.

4. In Libya Pentapolis is Cyrene, a city of great antiquity, but now
deserted, founded by Battus the Spartan, and Ptolemais, and Arsinoë,
known also as Teuchira, and Darnis, and Berenice, called also

5. And in the dry Libya, besides a few other insignificant towns, there
are Parætonium, Chærecla, and Neapolis.

6. Egypt proper, which ever since it has been united to the Roman empire
has been under the government of a prefect, besides some other towns of
smaller importance, is distinguished by Athribis, and Oxyrynchus, and
Thmuis, and Memphis.

7. But the greatest of all the cities is Alexandria, ennobled by many
circumstances, and especially by the grandeur of its great founder, and
the skill of its architect Dinocrates, who, when he was laying the
foundation of its extensive and beautiful walls, for want of mortar,
which could not be procured at the moment, is said to have marked out
its outline with flour; an incident which foreshowed that the city
should hereafter abound in supplies of provisions.

8. At Inibis the air is wholesome, the sky pure and undisturbed; and, as
the experience of a long series of ages proves, there is scarcely ever a
day on which the inhabitants of this city do not see the sun.

9. The shore is shifty and dangerous; and as in former times it exposed
sailors to many dangers, Cleopatra erected a lofty tower in the harbour,
which was named Pharos, from the spot on which it was built, and which
afforded light to vessels by night when coming from the Levant or the
Libyan sea along the plain and level coast, without any signs of
mountains or towns or eminences to direct them, they were previously
often wrecked by striking into the soft and adhesive sand.

10. The same queen, for a well-known and necessary reason, made a
causeway seven furlongs in extent, admirable for its size and for the
almost incredible rapidity with which it was made. The island of Pharos,
where Homer in sublime language relates that Proteus used to amuse
himself with his herds of seals, is almost a thousand yards from the
shore on which the city stands, and was liable to pay tribute to the

11. And when on one occasion the farmers of this revenue came to make
exorbitant demands, she, being a wily woman, on a pretext of it being
the season of solemn holidays, led them into the suburbs, and ordered
the work to be carried on without ceasing. And so seven furlongs were
completed in seven days, being raised with the soil of the adjacent
shore. Then the queen, driving over it in her chariot, said that the
Rhodians were making a blunder in demanding port dues for what was not
an island but part of the mainland.

12. Besides this there are many lofty temples, and especially one to
Serapis, which, although no words can adequately describe it, we may yet
say, from its splendid halls supported by pillars, and its beautiful
statues and other embellishments, is so superbly decorated, that next to
the Capitol, of which the ever-venerable Rome boasts, the whole world
has nothing worthier of admiration.

13. In it were libraries of inestimable value; and the concurrent
testimony of ancient records affirm that 70,000 volumes, which had been
collected by the anxious care of the Ptolemies, were burnt in the
Alexandrian war when the city was sacked in the time of Cæsar the

14. Twelve miles from this city is Canopus, which, according to ancient
tradition, received its name from the prophet of Menelaus, who was
buried there. It is a place exceedingly well supplied with good inns, of
a most wholesome climate, with refreshing breezes; so that any one who
resides in that district might think himself out of our world while he
hears the breezes murmuring through the sunny atmosphere.

15. Alexandria itself was not, like other cities, gradually embellished,
but at its very outset it was adorned with spacious roads. But after
having been long torn by violent seditions, at last, when Aurelian was
emperor, and when the intestine quarrels of its citizens had proceeded
to deadly strife, its walls were destroyed, and it lost the largest half
of its territory, which was called Bruchion, and had long been the abode
of eminent men.

16. There had lived Aristarchus, that illustrious grammarian; and
Herodianus, that accurate inquirer into the fine arts; and Saccas
Ammonius, the master of Plotinus, and many other writers in various
useful branches of literature, among whom Didymus, surnamed
Chalcenterus, a man celebrated for his writings on many subjects of
science, deserves especial mention; who, in the six books in which he,
sometimes incorrectly, attacks Cicero, imitating those malignant farce
writers, is justly blamed by the learned as a puppy barking from a
distance with puny voice against the mighty roar of the lion.

17. And although, besides those I have mentioned, there were many other
men of eminence in ancient times, yet even now there is much learning in
the same city; for teachers of various sects flourish, and many kinds of
secret knowledge are explained by geometrical science. Nor is music dead
among them, nor harmony. And by a few, observations of the motion of the
world and of the stars are still cultivated; while of learned
arithmeticians the number is considerable; and besides them there are
many skilled in divination.

18. Again, of medicine, the aid of which in our present extravagant and
luxurious way of life is incessantly required, the study is carried on
with daily increasing eagerness; so that while the employment be of
itself creditable, it is sufficient as a recommendation for any medical
man to be able to say that he was educated at Alexandria. And this is
enough to say on this subject.

19. But if any one in the earnestness of his intellect wishes to apply
himself to the various branches of divine knowledge, or to the
examination of metaphysics, he will find that the whole world owes this
kind of learning to Egypt.

20. Here first, far earlier than in any other country, men arrived at
the various cradles (if I may so say) of different religions. Here they
still carefully preserve the elements of sacred rites as handed down in
their secret volumes.

21. It was in learning derived from Egypt that Pythagoras was educated,
which taught him to worship the gods in secret, to establish the
principle that in whatever he said or ordered his authority was final,
to exhibit his golden thigh at Olympia, and to be continually seen in
conversation with an eagle.

22. Here it was that Anaxagoras derived the knowledge which enabled him
to predict that stones would fall from heaven, and from the feeling of
the mud in a well to foretell impending earthquakes. Solon too derived
aid from the apophthegms of the priests of Egypt in the enactment of his
just and moderate laws, by which he gave great confirmation to the Roman
jurisprudence. From this source too Plato, soaring amid sublime ideas,
rivalling Jupiter himself in the magnificence of his voice, acquired
his glorious wisdom by a visit to Egypt.

23. The inhabitants of Egypt are generally swarthy and dark
complexioned, and of a rather melancholy cast of countenance, thin and
dry looking, quick in every motion, fond of controversy, and bitter
exactors of their rights. Among them a man is ashamed who has not
resisted the payment of tribute, and who does not carry about him wheals
which he has received before he could be compelled to pay it. Nor have
any tortures been found sufficiently powerful to make the hardened
robbers of this country disclose their names unless they do so

24. It is well known, as the ancient annals prove, that all Egypt was
formerly under kings who were friendly to us. But after Antony and
Cleopatra were defeated in the naval battle at Actium, it became a
province under the dominion of Octavianus Augustus. We became masters of
the dry Libya by the last will of king Apion. Cyrene and the other
cities of Libya Pentapolis we owe to the liberality of Ptolemy. After
this long digression, I will now return to my original subject.

[121] Ammianus uses the phrase "worship of _the gods_," in opposition to

[122] Pro Archias Poeta, cap. xxii.

[123] The fable was that Hecuba was turned into a bitch, from which this
place was called κονος σῆμα, a dog's tomb.

[124] To--the name Βόσπορος is derived from βοὸς πόρος, the passage of
the Cow.

[125] So Virgil calls them Indomitique Dahæ. In the Georgics, also, he
speaks of the Chalybes as producers of iron. At Chalybes nudi ferrum.

[126] Or triennial, from τρεῖς, three; and ἒτος, a

[127] From Διόσκουροι, the sons of Jupiter, _i.e._, Castor and

[128] From ἡνίοχος, a charioteer.

[129] The old name was Ἂξεινος, inhospitable; turned into
εὔξεινος, friendly to strangers--εὐήθης, according to
etymology, would mean "of a good disposition:" εὐφρόνη, "the
time when people have happy thoughts;" Εὐμενίδες, "deities of
propitious might."

[130] A people living in one of the islands near Sicily, and changed by
Jupiter as related, Ov. Met. xiv., into monkeys.

[131] Two of the chief giants, Hom. Od. xi.

[132] A time spoken of by Pliny as before the fourth watch.

[133] These books are lost.

[134] We must remark here Ammianus's complete ignorance of comparative
geography and the bearings of the different countries of which he
speaks. The Syrtes and Cape Ras are due _west_, not south of Egypt, The
Ethiopians and Catadupi are on the north; while the Arabs, whom he
places in the same line, are on the south-east. The Sea of Issus, on the
Levant, which he places on the west, is on the north.

[135] The Blemmyæ were an Ethiopian tribe to the south of Egypt.

[136] These names seem derived from the real or fancied shape of the
snakes mentioned: the amphisbæna, from ἀμφὶ and βαίνω,
to go both ways, as it was believed to have a head at each end. The
scytalas was like "a staff;" the acontias, like "a javelin;" the dipsas
was a thirsty snake.

[137] From ἀντὶ, opposite; and σκιὰ, shadow.



     I. Julian in vain attempts to restore the temple at Jerusalem,
     which had been destroyed long before.--II. He orders Arsaces, king
     of Armenia, to prepare for the war with Persia, and with an army
     and auxiliary troops of the Scythians crosses the Euphrates.--III.
     As he marches through Mesopotamia, the princes of the Saracenic
     tribes of their own accord offer him a golden crown and auxiliary
     troops--A Roman fleet of eleven hundred ships arrives, and bridges
     over the Euphrates.--IV. A description of several engines, balistæ,
     scorpions, or wild-asses, battering-rams, helepoles, and
     fire-machines.--V. Julian, with all his army, crosses the river
     Aboras by a bridge of boats at Circesium--He harangues his
     soldiers.--VI. A description of the eighteen principal provinces of
     Persia, their cities, and the customs of their inhabitants.


A.D. 363.

§ 1. To pass over minute details, these were the principal events of the
year. But Julian, who in his third consulship had taken as his colleague
Sallustius, the prefect of Gaul now entered on his fourth year, and by a
novel arrangement took as his colleague a private individual; an act of
which no one recollected an instance since that of Diocletian and

2. And although, foreseeing in his anxious mind the various accidents
that might happen, he urged on with great diligence all the endless
preparations necessary for his expedition, yet distributing his
diligence everywhere; and being eager to extend the recollection of his
reign by the greatness of his exploits, he proposed to rebuild at a vast
expense the once magnificent temple of Jerusalem, which after many
deadly contests was with difficulty taken by Vespasian and Titus, who
succeeded his father in the conduct of the siege. And he assigned the
task to Alypius of Antioch, who had formerly been proprefect of Britain.

3. But though Alypius applied himself vigorously to the work, and though
the governor of the province co-operated with him, fearful balls of fire
burst forth with continual eruptions close to the foundations, burning
several of the workmen and making the spot altogether inaccessible. And
thus the very elements, as if by some fate, repelling the attempt, it
was laid aside.

4. About the same time the emperor conferred various honours on the
ambassadors who were sent to him from the Eternal City, being men of
high rank and established excellence of character. He appointed
Apronianus to be prefect of Rome, Octavianus to be proconsul of Africa,
Venustus to be viceroy of Spain, and promoted Rufinus Aradius to be
count of the East in the room of his uncle Julian, lately deceased.

5. When all this had been carried out as he arranged, he was alarmed by
an omen which, as the result showed, indicated an event immediately at
hand. Felix, the principal treasurer, having died suddenly of a
hemorrhage, and Count Julian having followed him, the populace, looking
on their public titles, hailed Julian as Felix and Augustus.

6. Another bad omen had preceded this, for, on the very first day of the
year, as the emperor was mounting the steps of the temple of the Genius,
one of the priests, the eldest of all, fell without any one striking him
and suddenly expired; an event which the bystanders, either out of
ignorance or a desire to flatter, affirmed was an omen affecting
Sallustius, as the elder consul; but it was soon seen that the death it
portended was not to the elder man, but to the higher authority.

7. Besides these several other lesser signs from time to time indicated
what was about to happen; for, at the very beginning of the arrangements
for the Parthian campaign, news came that there had been an earthquake
at Constantinople, which those skilful in divination declared to be an
unfavourable omen to a ruler about to invade a foreign country; and
therefore advised Julian to abandon his unreasonable enterprise,
affirming that these and similar signs can only be disregarded with
propriety when one's country is invaded by foreign armies, as then there
is one everlasting and invariable law, to defend its safety by every
possible means, allowing no relaxation nor delay. News also came by
letter that at Rome the Sibylline volumes had been consulted on the
subject of the war by Julian's order, and that they had in plain terms
warned him not to quit his own territories that year.


§ 1. But in the mean time embassies arrived from several nations
promising aid, and they were liberally received and dismissed; the
emperor with plausible confidence replying that it by no means became
the power of Rome to rely on foreign aid to avenge itself, as it was
rather fitting that Rome should give support to its friends and allies
if necessity drove them to ask it.

2. He only warned Arsaces, king of Armenia, to collect a strong force,
and wait for his orders, as he should soon know which way to march, and
what to do. Then, as soon as prudence afforded him an opportunity,
hastening to anticipate every rumour of his approach by the occupation
of the enemy's country, before spring had well set in, he sent the
signal for the advance to all his troops, commanding them to cross the

3. As soon as the order reached them, they hastened to quit their winter
quarters; and having crossed the river, according to their orders, they
dispersed into their various stations, and awaited the arrival of the
emperor. But he, being about to quit Antioch, appointed a citizen of
Heliopolis, named Alexander, a man of turbulent and ferocious character,
to govern Syria, saying that he indeed had not deserved such a post, but
that the Antiochians, being covetous and insolent, required a judge of
that kind.

4. When he was about to set forth, escorted by a promiscuous multitude
who wished him a fortunate march and a glorious return, praying that he
would be merciful and kinder than he had been, he (for the anger which
their addresses and reproaches had excited in his breast was not yet
appeased) spoke with severity to them, and declared that he would never
see them again.

5. For he said that he had determined, after his campaign was over, to
return by a shorter road to Tarsus in Cilicia, to winter there: and that
he had written to Memorius, the governor of the city, to prepare
everything that he might require in that city. This happened not long
afterwards; for his body was brought back thither and buried in the
suburbs with a very plain funeral, as he himself had commanded.

6. As the weather was now getting warm he set out on the fifth of March,
and by the usual stages arrived at Hieropolis; and as he entered the
gates of that large city a portico on the left suddenly fell down, and
as fifty soldiers were passing under it at that moment it wounded many,
crushing them beneath the vast weight of the beams and tiles.

7. Having collected all his troops from thence, he marched with such
speed towards Mesopotamia, that before any intelligence of his march
could arrive (an object about which he was especially solicitous) he
came upon the Assyrians quite unexpectedly. Then having led his whole
army and the Scythian auxiliaries across the Euphrates by a bridge of
boats, he arrived at Batnæ, a town of Osdroene, and there again a sad
omen met him.

8. For when a great crowd of grooms was standing near an enormously
high haystack, in order to receive their forage (for in this way those
supplies used to be stored in that country), the mass was shaken by the
numbers who sought to strip it, and falling down, overwhelmed fifty men.


§ 1. Leaving this place with a heavy heart, he marched with great speed,
and arrived at Carrhæ, an ancient town notorious for the disasters of
Crassus and the Roman army. From this town two royal roads branch off,
both leading into Persia; that on the left hand through Adiabene and
along the Tigris, that on the right through the Assyrians and along the

2. There he stayed some days, preparing necessary supplies; and
according to the custom of the district he offered sacrifices to the
moon, which is religiously worshipped in that region; and it is said
that while before the altar, no witness to the action being admitted, he
secretly gave his own purple robe to Procopius, and bade him boldly
assume the sovereignty if he should hear that he had died among the

3. Here while asleep his mind was agitated with dreams, and foresaw some
sad event about to happen; on which account he and the interpreters of
dreams considering the omens which presented themselves, pronounced that
the next day, which was the nineteenth of March, ought to be solemnly
observed. But, as was ascertained subsequently, that very same night,
while Apronianus was prefect of Rome, the temple of the Palatine Apollo
was burnt in the Eternal City; and if aid from all quarters had not come
to the rescue the violence of the conflagration would have destroyed
even the prophetic volumes of the Sibyl.

4. After these things had happened in this manner, and while Julian was
settling his line of march, and making arrangements for supplies of all
kinds, his scouts come panting in, and bring him word that some
squadrons of the enemy's cavalry have suddenly passed the frontier in
the neighbourhood of the camp, and have driven off a large booty.

5. Indignant at such atrocity and at such an insult, he immediately (as
indeed he had previously contemplated) put thirty thousand chosen men
under the orders of Procopius, who has been already mentioned, uniting
with him in this command Count Sebastian, formerly Duke of Egypt; and he
ordered them to act on this side of the Tigris, observing everything
vigilantly, so that no danger might arise on any side where it was not
expected, for such things had frequently happened. He charged them
further, if it could be done, to join King Arsaces; and march with him
suddenly through Corduena and Moxoëne, ravaging Chiliocomus, a very
fertile district of Media, and other places; and then to rejoin him
while still in Assyria, in order to assist him as he might require.

6. Having taken these measures, Julian himself, pretending to march by
the line of the Tigris, on which road he had purposely commanded
magazines of provisions to be prepared, turned towards the right, and
after a quiet night, asked in the morning for the horse which he was
accustomed to ride: his name was Babylonius. And when he was brought,
being suddenly griped and starting at the pain, he fell down, and
rolling about scattered the gold and jewels with which his trappings
were decked. Julian, in joy at this omen, cried out, amid the applause
of those around, that "Babylon had fallen, and was stripped of all her

7. Having delayed a little that he might confirm the omen by the
sacrifice of some victims, he advanced to Davana, where he had a
garrison-fortress, and where the river Belias rises which falls into the
Euphrates. Here he refreshed his men with food and sleep, and the next
day reached Callinicus, a strong fortress, and also a great commercial
mart, where, on the 27th of March (the day on which at Rome the annual
festival in honour of Cybele is celebrated, and the car in which her
image is borne is, as it is said, washed in the waters of the Almo), he
kept the same feast according to the manner of the ancients, and then,
retiring to rest, passed a triumphant, and joyful night.

8. The next day he proceeded along the bank of the river, which other
streams began to augment, marching with an armed escort; and at night he
rested in a tent where some princes of the Saracenic tribes came as
suppliants, bringing him a golden crown, and adoring him as the master
of the world and of their own nations: he received them graciously, as
people well adapted for surprises in war.

9. And while addressing them a fleet arrived equal to that of the mighty
sovereign Xerxes, under the command of the tribune Constantianus, and
Count Lucillianus; they threw a bridge over the broadest part of the
Euphrates: the fleet consisted of one thousand transports, of various
sorts and sizes, bringing large supplies of provisions, and arms, and
engines for sieges, and fifty ships of war, and as many more suitable
for the construction of bridges.


§ 1. I am reminded by the circumstances to explain instruments of this
kind briefly, as far as my moderate talent may enable me to do, and
first I will set forth the figure of the balista.

2. Between two axletrees a strong large iron bar is fastened, like a
great rule, round, smooth, and polished; from its centre a square pin
projects for some distance, hollowed out into a narrow channel down its
middle. This is bound by many ligatures of twisted cords: to it two
wooden nuts are accurately fitted, by one of which stands a skilful man
who works it, and who fits neatly into the hollow of the pin or pole a
wooden arrow with a large point; and as soon as this is done, some
strong young men rapidly turn a wheel.

3. When the tip of the arrow's point has reached the extremity of the
cords, the arrow is struck by a blow from the balista, and flies out of
sight; sometimes even giving forth sparks by its great velocity, and it
often happens that before the arrow is seen, it has given a fatal wound.

4. The scorpion, which they now call the wild-ass, is in the following
form. Two axletrees of oak or box are cut out and slightly curved, so as
to project in small humps, and they are fastened together like a sawing
machine, being perforated with large holes on each side; and between
them, through the holes, strong ropes are fastened to hold the two parts
together, and prevent them from starting asunder.

5. From these ropes thus placed a wooden pin rises in an oblique
direction, like the pole of a chariot, and it is so fastened by knotted
cords as to be raised or depressed at pleasure. To its top, iron hooks
are fastened, from which a sling hangs, made of either cord or iron.
Below the pin is a large sack filled with shreds of cloth, fastened by
strong ties, and resting on heaped-up turves or mounds of brick. For an
engine of this kind, if placed on a stone wall would destroy whatever
was beneath it, not by its weight, but by the violence of its

6. Then when a conflict begins, a round stone is placed on the sling,
and four youths on each side, loosening the bar to which the cords are
attached, bend the pin back till it points almost upright into the air;
then the worker of the engine, standing by on high ground, frees by a
blow with the heavy hammer the bolt which keeps down the whole engine;
and the pin being set free by the stroke, and striking against the mass
of cloth shreds, hurls forth the stone with such force as to crush
whatever it strikes.

7. This engine is called a _tormentum_, because all its parts are
twisted (_torquetur_); or a scorpion, because it has an erect sting; but
modern times have given it the name of the wild-ass, because when wild
asses are hunted, they throw the stones behind them by their kicks so as
to pierce the chests of those who pursue them, or to fracture their

8. Now let us come to the battering ram. A lofty pine or ash is chosen,
the top of which is armed with a long and hard head of iron, resembling
a ram, which form has given the name to the engine. It is suspended from
iron beams running across on each side, like the top of a pair of
scales, and is kept in its place by ropes hanging from a third beam. A
number of men draw it back as far as there is room, and then again drive
it forward to break down whatever opposes it by mighty blows, like a ram
which rises up and butts.

9. By the frequent blows of this rebounding thunderbolt, buildings are
torn asunder and walls are loosened and thrown down. By this kind of
engine, if worked with proper vigour, garrisons are deprived of their
defences, and the strongest cities are laid open and sieges rapidly
brought to a conclusion.

10. Instead of these rams, which from their common use came to be
despised, a machine was framed called in Greek the helepolis, by the
frequent use of which Demetrius, the son of king Antigonus, took Rhodes
and other cities, and earned the surname of Poliorcetes.

11. It is constructed in this manner. A vast testudo is put together,
strengthened with long beams and fastened with iron nails; it is covered
with bullocks' hides and wicker-work made of freshly cut twigs, and its
top is smeared over with clay to keep off missiles and fiery darts.

12. Along its front very sharp spears with three points are fastened,
heavy with iron, like the thunderbolts represented by painters or
sculptors, and strong enough with the projecting points to tear to
pieces whatever it strikes.

13. A number of soldiers within guide this vast mast with wheels and
ropes, urging with vehement impulse against the weaker parts of the
wall, so that, unless repelled by the strength of the garrison above, it
breaks down the wall and lays open a great breach.

14. The firebolts, which are a kind of missile, are made thus. They take
an arrow of cane, joined together between the point and the reed with
jagged iron, and made in the shape of a woman's spindle, with which
linen threads are spun; this is cunningly hollowed out in the belly and
made with several openings, and in the cavity fire and fuel of some kind
is placed.

15. Then if it be shot slowly from a slack bow (for if it be shot with
too much speed the fire is extinguished), so as to stick anywhere, it
burns obstinately, and if sprinkled with water it creates a still
fiercer fire, nor will anything but throwing dust upon it quench it.
This is enough to say of mural engines; let us now return to our
original subject.


§ 1. Having received the reinforcements of the Saracens which they so
cheerfully offered, the emperor advanced with speed, and at the
beginning of April entered Circesium, a very secure fortress, and
skilfully built, it is surrounded by the two rivers Aboras (or Chaboras)
and Euphrates, which make it as it were an island.

2. It had formerly been small and insecure, till Diocletian surrounded
it with lofty towers and walls when he was strengthening his inner
frontier within the very territories of the barbarians, in order to
prevent the Persians from overrunning Syria, as had happened a few years
before to the great injury of the province.

3. For it happened one day at Antioch, when the city was in perfect
tranquillity, a comic actor being on the stage with his wife, acting
some common play, while the people were delighted with his acting, the
wife suddenly exclaimed, "Unless I am dreaming, here are the Persians;"
and immediately the populace turning round, were put to flight, and
driven about in every direction while seeking to escape the darts which
were showered upon them; and so the city being burnt and numbers of the
citizens slain, who, as is usual in time of peace, were strolling about
carelessly, and all the places in the neighbourhood being burnt and laid
waste, the enemy loaded with booty returned in safety to their own
country after having burnt Mareades alive, who had wickedly guided them
to the destruction of his fellow-citizens. This event took place in the
time of Gallienus.

4. But Julian, while remaining at Circesium to give time for his army
and all its followers to cross the bridge of boats over the Aboras,
received letters with bad news from Sallust, the prefect of Gaul,
entreating him to suspend his expedition against the Parthians, and
imploring him not in such an unseasonable manner to rush on irrevocable
destruction before propitiating the gods.

5. But Julian disregarded his prudent adviser, and advanced boldly;
since no human power or virtue can ever avail to prevent events
prescribed by the order of the Fates. And immediately, having crossed
the river, he ordered the bridge to be taken to pieces, that the
soldiers might have no hope of safety by quitting their ranks and

6. Here also a bad omen was seen; the corpse of an officer who had been
put to death by the executioner, whom Sallust, the prefect, while in
this country had condemned to death, because, after having promised to
deliver an additional supply of provisions by an appointed day, he
disappointed him through some hindrance. But after the unhappy man had
been executed, the very next day there arrived, as he had promised,
another fleet heavily laden with corn.

7. Leaving Circesium, we came to Zaitha, the name of the place meaning
an olive-tree. Here we saw the tomb of the emperor Gordian, which is
visible a long way off, whose actions from his earliest youth, and whose
most fortunate campaigns and treacherous murder we related at the proper
time,[138] and when, in accordance with his innate piety he had offered
due honours to this deified emperor and was on his way to Dura, a town
now deserted, he stood without moving on beholding a large body of

8. And as he was doubting what their object was, they brought him an
enormous lion which had attacked their ranks and had been slain by their
javelins. He, elated at this circumstance, which he looked on as an omen
of success in his enterprise, advanced with increased exultation; but so
uncertain is fortune, the event was quite contrary to his expectation.
The death of a king was certainly foreshown, but who was the king was

9. For we often read of ambiguous oracles, never understood till the
results interpreted them; as, for instance, the Delphic prophecy, which
foretold that after crossing the Halys, Croesus would overthrow a
mighty kingdom; and another, which by hints pointed out the sea to the
Athenians as the field of combat against the Medes; and another; later
than these, but not less ambiguous:--

                    "O son of Æacus,
  I say that you the Romans can subdue."

10. The Etrurian soothsayers who accompanied him, being men skilful in
portents, had often warned him against this campaign, but got no credit;
so now they produced their books of such signs, and showed that this was
an omen of a forbidding character, and unfavourable to a prince who
should invade the country of another sovereign however justly.

11. But he spurned the opposition of philosophers, whose authority he
ought to have reverenced, though at times they were mistaken, and though
they were sometimes obstinate in cases which they did not thoroughly
understand. In truth, they brought forward as a plausible argument to
secure credit to their knowledge, that in time past, when Cæsar
Maximianus was about to fight Narses, king of the Persians, a lion and a
huge boar which had been slain were at the same time brought to him, and
after subduing that nation he returned in safety; forgetting that the
destruction which was now portended was to him who invaded the dominions
of another, and that Narses had given the offence by being the first to
make an inroad into Armenia, a country under the Roman jurisdiction.

12. On the next day, which was the 7th of April, as the sun was setting,
suddenly the air became darkened, and all light wholly disappeared, and
after repeated claps of thunder and flashes of lightning, a soldier
named Jovianus was struck by the lightning and killed, with two horses
which he was leading back from the river to which he had taken them to

13. When this was seen, the interpreters of such things were sent for
and questioned, and they with increased boldness affirmed that this
event forbade the campaign, demonstrating it to be a monitory lightning
(for this term is applied to signs which advise or discourage any line
of action). And this, as they said, was to be the more guarded against,
because it had killed a soldier of rank, with war-horses; and the books
which explain lightnings pronounce that places struck in this manner
should not be trodden on, nor even looked upon.

14. On the other hand, the philosophers declared that the brilliancy of
this sacred fire thus suddenly presented to the eye had no special
meaning, but was merely the course of a fiercer breath descending by
some singular power from the sky to the lower parts of the world; and
that if any foreknowledge were to be derived from such a circumstance,
it was rather an increase of renown which was portended to the emperor
now engaged in a glorious enterprise; since it is notorious that flame,
if it meet with no obstacle, does of its own nature fly upwards.

15. The bridge then, as has been narrated, having been finished, and all
the troops having crossed it, the emperor thought it the most important
of all things to address his soldiers who were advancing resolutely, in
full reliance on their leader and on themselves. Accordingly, a signal
having been given by the trumpets, the centurions, cohorts, and maniples
assembled, and he, standing on a mound of earth, and surrounded by a
ring of officers of high rank, spoke thus with a cheerful face, being
favourably heard with the unanimous good will of all present.

16. "Seeing, my brave soldiers, that you are full of great vigour and
alacrity, I have determined to address you, to prove to you by several
arguments that the Romans are not, as spiteful grumblers assert, now for
the first time invading the kingdom of Persia. For, to say nothing of
Lucullus or of Pompey, who, having forced his way through the Albani and
Massagetæ, whom we call Alani, penetrated through this nation also so as
to reach the Caspian lake; we know that Ventidius, the lieutenant of
Antony, gained many victories in these regions.

17. "But to leave those ancient times, I will enumerate other exploits
of more recent memory. Trajan, and Verus, and Severus have all gained
victories and trophies in this country; and the younger Gordian, whose
monument we have just been honouring, would have reaped similar glory,
having conquered and routed the king of Persia at Resaina, if he had not
been wickedly murdered in this very place by the faction of Philip, the
prefect of the prætorium, with the assistance of a few other impious

18. "But his shade was not long left to wander unavenged, since, as if
Justice herself had laboured in the cause, all those who conspired
against him have been put to death with torture. Those men, indeed,
ambition prompted to the atrocious deed; but we are exhorted by the
miserable fate of cities recently taken, by the unavenged shades of our
slaughtered armies, by the heaviness of our losses, and the loss of many
camps and fortresses, to the enterprise which we have undertaken. All
men uniting in their wishes that we may remedy past evils, and having
secured the honour and safety of the republic on this side, may leave
posterity reason to speak nobly of us.

19. "By the assistance of the eternal deity, I, your emperor, will be
always among you as a leader and a comrade, relying, as I well believe,
on favourable omens. But if variable fortune shall defeat me in battle,
it will still be sufficient for me to have devoted myself for the
welfare of the Roman world, like ancient Curtii and Mucii, and the
illustrious family of the Decii. We have to abolish a most pernicious
nation, on whose swords the blood of our kindred is not yet dry.

20. "Our ancestors have before now devoted ages to cause the
destruction of enemies who harassed them. Carthage was overthrown after
a long and distressing war; and its great conqueror feared to let it
survive his victory. After a long and often disastrous siege, Scipio
utterly destroyed Numantia. Rome destroyed Fidenæ, that it might not
grow up as a rival to the empire; and so entirely laid waste Falisci and
Veii, that it is not easy to attach so much faith to ancient records as
to believe that those cities ever were powerful.

21. "These transactions I have related to you as one acquainted with
ancient history. It follows that all should lay aside, as unworthy of
him, the love of plunder, which has often been the insidious bane of the
Roman soldier, and that every one should keep steadily to his own troop
and his own standard, when the necessity for fighting arises, knowing
that should he loiter anywhere he will be hamstrung and left to his
fate. I fear nothing of our over-crafty enemies but their tricks and

22. "Finally, I promise you all, that when our affairs have met with
success, without entrenching myself behind my imperial prerogative, so
as to consider all my own decisions and opinions irrefragably just and
reasonable because of my authority, I will give, if required, a full
explanation of all that I have done, that you may be able to judge
whether it has been wise or not.

23. "Therefore, I entreat you, now summon all your courage, in full
reliance on your good fortune, sure at all events that I will share all
dangers equally with you, and believing that victory ever accompanies

24. When he had ended his harangue with this pleasant peroration, the
soldiers, exulting in the glory of their chief, and elated with the
hopes of success, lifted up their shields on high, and cried out that
they should think nothing dangerous nor difficult under an emperor who
imposed more toil on himself than on his common soldiers.

25. And above all the rest his Gallic troops showed this feeling with
triumphant shouts, remembering how often while he as their leader was
marshalling their ranks, they had seen some nations defeated and others
compelled to sue for mercy and peace.


§ 1. Our history here leads us to a digression explanatory of the
situation of Persia. It has been already dilated upon by those who
describe different nations, though but few of them have given a correct
account; if my story should be a little longer, it will contribute to a
better knowledge of the country. For whoever affects excessive
conciseness while speaking of things but little known, does not so much
consider how to explain matters intelligibly, as how much he may omit.

2. This kingdom, formerly but small, and one which had been known by
several names, from causes which we have often mentioned, after the
death of Alexander at Babylon received the name of Parthia from Arsaces,
a youth of obscure birth, who in his early youth was a leader of
banditti, but who gradually improved his condition, and rose to high
renown from his illustrious actions.

3. After many splendid and gallant exploits he defeated Nicator
Seleucus, the successor of the above-named Alexander, who had received
the surname of Nicator[139] from his repeated victories; and having
expelled the Macedonian garrisons, he lived for the remainder of his
life in peace, like a merciful ruler of willing subjects.

4. At last, after all the neighbouring districts had been brought under
his power, either by force or by fear, or by his reputation for justice,
he died a peaceful death in middle age, after he had filled all Persia
with flourishing cities and well-fortified camps and fortresses, and had
made it an object of terror to its neighbours whom previously it used to
fear. And he was the first of these kings who had by the unanimous
consent of all his countrymen of all ranks, in accordance with the
tenets of their religion, had his memory consecrated as one now placed
among the stars.

5. And it is from his era that the arrogant sovereigns of that nation
have allowed themselves to be entitled brothers of the sun and moon.
And, as the title of Augustus is sought for and desired by our emperors,
so now the additional dignities first earned by the fortunate auspices
of Arsaces are claimed by all the Parthian kings, who were formerly
abject and inconsiderable.

6. So that they still worship and honour Arsaces as a god, and down to
our day have given him so much honour that, in conferring the royal
power, one of his race has been always preferred to any one else. And
also in intestine quarrels, such as are common in that nation, every one
avoids as sacrilege wounding any descendant of Arsaces, whether in arms
or living as a private individual.

7. It is well known that this nation, after subduing many others by
force, extended its dominions as far as the Propontis and Thrace; but
that it subsequently became diminished and suffered great disasters,
owing to the arrogance of its ambitious monarchs, who carried their
licentious inroads into distant countries. First, in consequence of the
conduct of Cyrus, who crossed the Bosphorus with a fabulous host, but
was wholly destroyed by Tomyris, queen of the Scythians, who thus
terribly avenged her sons.

8. After him, when Darius, and subsequently Xerxes, changed the use[140]
of the elements and invaded Greece, they had nearly all their forces
destroyed by land and sea, and could scarcely escape in safety
themselves. I say nothing of the wars of Alexander, and of his leaving
the sovereignty over the whole nation by will to his successor.

9. Then, a long time after these events, while our republic was under
consuls, and was afterwards brought under the power of the Cæsars, that
nation was constantly warring with us, sometimes with equal fortune;
being at one time defeated, and at another victorious.

10. Now I will in a few words describe the situation and position of the
country as well as I can. It is a region of great extent both in length
and breadth, entirely surrounding on all sides the famous Persian gulf
with its many islands. The mouth of this gulf is so narrow that from
Harmozon, the promontory of Carmania, the opposite headland, which the
natives call Maces, is easily seen.

11. When the strait between these capes is passed, and the water becomes
wider, they are navigable up to the city Teredon, where, after having
suffered a great diminution of its waters, the Euphrates falls into the
sea. The entire gulf, if measured round the shore, is 20,000 furlongs,
being of a circular form as if turned in a lathe. And all round its
coasts are towns and villages in great numbers; and the vessels which
navigate its waters are likewise very numerous.

12. Having then passed through this strait we come to the gulf of
Armenia on the east, the gulf of Cantichus on the south, and on the west
to a third, which they call Chalites.[141] These gulfs, after washing
many islands, of which but few are known, join the great Indian Ocean,
which is the first to receive the glowing rising of the sun, and is
itself of an excessive heat.

13. As the pens of geographers delineate it, the whole of the region
which we have been speaking of is thus divided. From the north to the
Caspian gates it borders on the Cadusii, and on many Scythian tribes,
and on the Arimaspi, a fierce one-eyed people. On the west it is bounded
by the Armenians, and Mount Niphates, the Asiatic Albani, the Red Sea,
and the Scenite Arabs, whom later times have called the Saracens. To the
south it looks towards Mesopotamia, on the east it reaches to the
Ganges, which falls into the Southern Ocean after intersecting the
countries of the Indians.

14. The principal districts of Persia, under command of the Vitaxæ, that
is to say of the generals of the cavalry, and of the king's Satraps, for
the many inferior provinces it would be difficult and superfluous to
enumerate, are Assyria, Susiana, Media, Persia, Parthia, the greater
Carmania, Hyrcania, Margiana, the Bactrians, the Sogdians, the Sacæ,
Scythia beyond Mount Emodes, Serica, Aria, the Paropanisadæ, Drangiana,
Arachosia, and Gedrosia.

15. Superior to all the rest is that which is the nearest to us,
Assyria, both in renown, and extent, and its varied riches and
fertility. It was formerly divided among several peoples and tribes, but
is now known under one common name as Assyria. It is in that country
that amid its abundance of fruits and ordinary crops, there is a lake
named Sosingites, near which bitumen is found. In this lake the Tigris
is for a while absorbed, flowing beneath its bed, till, at a great
distance, it emerges again.

16. Here also is produced naphtha, an article of a pitchy and glutinous
character, resembling bitumen: on which if ever so small a bird perches,
it finds its flight impeded and speedily dies. It is a species of
liquid, and when once it has taken fire, human ingenuity can find no
means of extinguishing it except that of heaping dust on it.

17. In the same district is seen an opening in the earth from which a
deadly vapour arises, which by its foul odour destroys any animal which
comes near it. The evil arises from a deep well, and if that odour
spread beyond its wide mouth before it rose higher, it would make all
the country around uninhabitable by its fetid effect.

18. There used, as some affirm, to be a similar chasm near Hierapolis in
Phrygia; from which a noxious vapour rose in like manner with a fetid
smell which never ceased, and destroyed everything within the reach of
its influence, except eunuchs; to what this was owing we leave natural
philosophers to determine.

19. Also near the temple of the Asbamæan Jupiter, in Cappadocia (in
which district that eminent philosopher Apollonius is said to have been
born near the town of Tyana), a spring rises from a marsh, which,
however swollen with its rising floods, never overflows its banks.

20. Within this circuit is Adiabene, which was formerly called Assyria,
but by long custom has received its present name from the circumstance,
that being placed between the two navigable rivers the Ona and the
Tigris, it can never be approached by fording; for in Greek we use
διαβαίνειν for to "cross:" this was the belief of the ancients.

21. But we say that in this country there are two rivers which never
fail, which we ourselves have crossed, the Diabas, and the Adiabas:
both having bridges of boats over them; and that Adiabene has received
its name from this last, as Homer tells us Egypt received its name from
its great river, and India also, and Commagena which was formerly called
Euphratensis, as did the country now called Spain, which was formerly
called Iberia from the Iberus.[142] And the great Spanish province of
Boetica from the river Boetis.[143]

22. In this district of Adiabene is the city of Nineveh, named after
Ninus, a most mighty sovereign of former times, and the husband of
Semiramis, who was formerly queen of Persia, and also the cities of
Ecbatana, Arbela, and Gaugamela, where Alexander, after several other
battles, gave the crowning defeat to Darius.

23. In Assyria there are many cities, among which one of the most
eminent is Apamia, surnamed Mesene, and Teredon, and Apollonia, and
Vologesia, and many others of equal importance. But the most splendid
and celebrated are these three, Babylon, the walls of which Semiramis
cemented with pitch; for its citadel indeed was founded by that most
eminent monarch Belus. And Ctesiphon which Vardanes built long ago, and
which subsequently King Pacorus enlarged by an immigration of many
citizens, fortifying it also with walls, and giving it a name, made it
the most splendid place in Persia--next to it Seleucia, the splendid
work of Seleucus Nicator.

24. This, however, as we have already related, was stormed by the
generals of Verus Cæsar, who carried the image of the Cumæan Apollo to
Rome, and placed it in the temple of the Palatine Apollo, where it was
formally dedicated to that god by his priests. But it is said that after
this statue was carried off, and the city was burnt, the soldiers,
searching the temple, found a narrow hole, and when this was opened in
the hope of finding something of value in it, from some deep gulf which
the secret science of the Chaldæans had closed up, issued a pestilence,
loaded with the force of incurable disease, which in the time of Verus
and Marcus Antoninus polluted the whole world from the borders of Persia
to the Rhine and Gaul with contagion and death.

25. Near to this is the region of the Chaldæans, the nurse of the
ancient philosophy, as the Chaldæans themselves affirm; and where the
art of true divination has most especially been conspicuous. This
district is watered by the noble rivers already mentioned, by the
Marses, by the Royal river, and by that best of all, the Euphrates,
which divides into three branches, and is navigable in them all, having
many islands, and irrigating the fields around in a manner superior to
any industry of cultivators, making them fit both for the plough and for
the production of trees.

26. Next to these come the Susians, in whose province there are not many
towns; though Susa itself is celebrated as a city which has often been
the home of kings, and Arsiana, and Sele, and Aracha. The other towns in
this district are unimportant and obscure. Many rivers flow through this
region, the chief of which are the Oroates, the Harax, and the Meseus,
passing through the narrow sandy plain which separates the Caspian from
the Red Sea, and then fall into the sea.

27. On the left, Media is bounded by the Hyrcanian Sea;[144] a country
which, before the reign of the elder Cyrus and the rise of Persia, we
read was the supreme mistress of all Asia after the Assyrians had been
conquered; the greater part of whose cantons had their name changed into
one general appellation of Acrapatena, and fell by right of war under
the power of the Medes.

28. They are a warlike nation, and the most formidable of all the
eastern tribes, next to the Parthians, by whom alone they are conquered.
The region which they inhabit is in the form of a square. All the
inhabitants of these districts extend over great breadth of country,
reaching to the foot of a lofty chain of mountains known by the names of
Zagrus, Orontes, and Jasonium.

29. There is another very lofty mountain called Coronus; and those who
dwell on its western side abound in corn land and vineyards, being
blessed with a most fertile soil, and one enriched by rivers and

30. They have also green meadows, and breeds of noble horses, on which
(as ancient writers relate, and as we ourselves have witnessed) their
men when going to battle mount with great exultation. They call them

31. They have also as many cities as Media, and villages as strongly
built as towns in other countries, inhabited by large bodies of
citizens. In short, it is the richest quarter of the kingdom.

32. In these districts the lands of the Magi are fertile; and it may be
as well to give a short account of that sect and their studies, since we
have occasion to mention their name. Plato, that most learned deliverer
of wise opinions, teaches us that Magiæ is by a mystic name
Machagistia,[146] that is to say, the purest worship of divine beings;
of which knowledge in olden times the Bactrian Zoroaster derived much
from the secret rites of the Chaldæans; and after him Hystaspes, a very
wise monarch, the father of Darius.

33. Who while boldly penetrating into the remoter districts of upper
India, came to a certain woody retreat, of which with its tranquil
silence the Brahmans, men of sublime genius, were the possessors. From
their teaching he learnt the principles of the motion of the world and
of the stars, and the pure rites of sacrifice, as far as he could; and
of what he learnt he infused some portion into the minds of the Magi,
which they have handed down by tradition to later ages, each instructing
his own children, and adding to it their own system of divination.

34. From his time, through many ages to the present era, a number of
priests of one and the same race has arisen, dedicated to the worship of
the gods. And they say, if it can be believed, that they even keep alive
in everlasting fires a flame which descended from heaven among them; a
small portion of which, as a favourable omen, used to be borne before
the kings of Asia.

35. Of this class the number among the ancients was small, and the
Persian sovereigns employed their ministry in the solemn performance of
divine sacrifices, and it was profanation to approach the altars, or to
touch a victim before a Magus with solemn prayers had poured over it a
preliminary libation. But becoming gradually more numerous they arrived
at the dignity and reputation of a substantial race; inhabiting towns
protected by no fortifications, allowed to live by their own laws, and
honoured from the regard borne to their religion.

36. It was of this race of Magi that the ancient volumes relate that
after the death of Cambyses, seven men seized on the kingdom of Persia,
who were put down by Darius, after he obtained the kingdom through the
neighing of his horse.

37. In this district a medical oil is prepared with which if an arrow be
smeared, and it be shot gently from a loose bow (for it loses its effect
in a rapid flight), wherever it sticks it burns steadily, and if any one
attempts to quench it with water it only burns more fiercely, nor can it
be put out by any means except by throwing dust on it.

38. It is made in this manner. Those skilful in such arts mix common oil
with a certain herb, keep it a long time and when the mixture is
completed they thicken it with a material derived from some natural
source, like a thicker oil. The material being a liquor produced in
Persia, and called, as I have already said, naphtha in their native

39. In this district there are many cities, the most celebrated of which
are Zombis, Patigran, and Gazaca; but the richest and most strongly
fortified are Heraclia, Arsacia, Europos, Cyropolis, and Ecbatana, all
of which are situated in the Syromedian region at the foot of Mount

40. There are many rivers in this country, the principal of which are
the Choaspes, the Gyndes, the Amardus, the Charinda, the Cambyses, and
the Cyrus, to which, on account of its size and beauty, the elder Cyrus,
that amiable king, gave its present name, abolishing that which it used
to bear, when he was proceeding on his expedition against Scythia; his
reason being that it was strong, as he accounted himself to be, and that
making its way with great violence, as he proposed to do, it falls into
the Caspian Sea.

41. Beyond this frontier ancient Persia, stretching towards the south,
extends as far as the sea, and is very thickly peopled, being also rich
in grain and date-trees, and well supplied with excellent water. Many of
its rivers fall into the gulf already mentioned, the chief of which are
the Vatrachites, the Rogomanis, the Brisoana, and the Bagrada.

42. Its inland towns are very considerable; it is uncertain why they
built nothing remarkable on the sea-coast. Those of most note are
Persepolis, Ardea, Obroatis, and Tragonice. The only islands visible
from that coast are these:--Tabiana, Fara, and Alexandria.

43. On the borders of this ancient Persia towards the north is Parthia,
a country subject to snow and frost; the principal river which
intersects that region is the Choatres; the chief towns are Genonia,
Moesia, Charax, Apamia, Artacana, and Hecatompylos; from its frontier
along the shores of the Caspian Sea to the Caspian gates is a distance
of 1040 furlongs.

44. The inhabitants of all the countries in that district are fierce and
warlike, and they are so fond of war and battle that he who is slain in
battle is accounted the happiest of men, while those who die a natural
death are reproached as degenerate and cowardly.

45. These tribes are bounded on the east and the south by Arabia Felix,
so called because it abounds equally in corn, cattle, vines, and every
kind of spice: a great portion of that country reaches on the right down
to the Red Sea, and on its left extends to the Persian Gulf; so that the
inhabitants reap the benefits of both.

46. There are in that country many havens and secure harbours, and
well-frequented marts; many spacious and splendid abodes for their
kings, and wholesome springs of water naturally warm, and a great number
of rivers and streams; the climate is temperate and healthy, so that if
one considers the matter rightly, the natives seem to want nothing to
perfect their happiness.

47. There are in it very many cities both on the coast and inland; many
fertile hills and valleys. The chief cities are Geapolis, Nascon,
Baraba, Nagara, Mephra, Taphra, and Dioscurias. And in both seas it
possesses several islands lying off the coast, which it is not worth
while to enumerate. But the most important of them is Turgana, in which
there is said to be a magnificent temple of Serapis.

48. Beyond the frontier of this nation is the greater Carmania, lying on
high ground, and stretching to the Indian Sea; fertile in fruit and
timber trees, but neither so productive nor so extensive as Arabia. With
rivers it is as well supplied, and in grass and herbage scarcely

49. The most important rivers are the Sagareus, the Saganis, and the
Hydriacus. The cities are not numerous, but admirably supplied with all
the necessaries and luxuries of life; the most celebrated of them all
are Carmania the metropolis, Portospana, Alexandria, and Hermopolis.

50. Proceeding inland, we next come to the Hyrcanians, who live on the
coast of the sea of that name. Here the land is so poor that it kills
the seed crops, so that agriculture is not much attended to; but they
live by hunting, taking wonderful pleasure in every kind of sport.
Thousands of tigers are found among them, and all kinds of wild beasts;
we have already mentioned the various devices by which they are caught.

51. Not indeed that they are ignorant of the art of ploughing, and some
districts where the soil is fertile are regularly sown; nor are trees
wanting to plant in suitable spots: many of the people too support
themselves by commerce.

52. In this province are two rivers of universal celebrity the Oxus and
the Maxera, which tigers sometimes, when urged by hunger, cross by
swimming, and unexpectedly ravage the neighbouring districts. It has
also besides other smaller towns some strong cities, two on the
sea-shore named Socunda and Saramanna; and some inland, such as Azmorna
and Sole, and Hyrcana, of higher reputation than either.

53. Opposite to this tribe, towards the north, live the Abii, a very
devout nation, accustomed to trample under foot all worldly things, and
whom, as Homer somewhat fabulously says, Jupiter keeps in view from
Mount Ida.

54. The regions next to the Hyrcaneans are possessed by the Margiani,
whose district is almost wholly surrounded by high hills, by which they
are separated from the sea; and although the greater part of this
province is deserted from want of water, still there are some towns in
it; the best known of which are Jasonium, Antiochia, and Nisæa.

55. Next to them are the Bactrians, a nation formerly very warlike and
powerful, and always hostile to the Persians, till they drew all the
nations around under their dominion, and united them under their own
name; and in old time the Bactrian kings were formidable even to

56. The greater part of their country, like that of the Margiani, is
situated far from the sea-shore, but its soil is fertile, and the cattle
which feed both on the plains and on the mountains in that district are
very large and powerful; of this the camels which Mithridates brought
from thence, and which were first seen by the Romans at the siege of
Cyzicus, are a proof.

57. Many tribes are subject to the Bactrians, the most considerable of
which are the Tochari: their country is like Italy in the number of its
rivers, some of which are the Artemis and the Zariaspes, which were
formerly joined, and the Ochus and Orchomanes, which also unite and
afterwards fall into the Oxus, and increase that large river with their

58. There are also cities in that country, many of them on the border of
different rivers, the best of which are Chatra, Charte, Alicodra,
Astacea, Menapila, and Bactra itself, which has given its name both to
the region and to the people.

59. At the foot of the mountains lie a people called the Sogdians, in
whose country are two rivers navigable for large vessels, the Araxates
and the Dymas, which, flowing among the hills and through the valleys
into the open plain, form the extensive Oxian marsh. In this district
the most celebrated towns are Alexandria, Cyreschata, and Drepsa the

60. Bordering on these are the Sacæ, a fierce nation dwelling in a
gloomy-looking district, only fit for cattle, and on that account
destitute of cities. They are at the foot of Mount Ascanimia and Mount
Comedus, along the bottom of which, and by a town called the Stone
Tower, is the long road much frequented by merchants which leads to

61. Around the glens at the bottom of the Imanian and Tapurian
mountains, and within the Persian frontier, is a tribe of Scythians,
bordering on the Asiatic Sarmatians, and touching the furthest side of
the Allemanni, who, like dwellers in a secluded spot, and made for
solitude, are scattered over the regions at long distances from one
another, and live on hard and poor food.

62. And various tribes inhabit these districts, which, as I am
hastening to other topics, I think superfluous to enumerate. But this is
worth knowing, that among these tribes, which are almost unapproachable
on account of their excessive ferocity, there are some races of gentle
and devout men, as the Jaxartæ and the Galactophagi, whom Homer mentions
in his verses:--

  Γλακτοφάγων, Ἀβίωντε, δικαιοτάτων ἀνθρώπων.[147]

63. Among the many rivers which flow through this land, either uniting
at last with larger streams, or proceeding straight to the sea, the most
celebrated are the Roemnus, the Jaxartes, and the Talicus. There are
but three cities there of any note, Aspabota, Chauriana, and Saga.

64. Beyond the districts of the two Scythias, on the eastern side, is a
ring of mountains which surround Serica, a country considerable both for
its extent and the fertility of its soil. This tribe on their western
side border on the Scythians, on the north and the east they look
towards snowy deserts; towards the south they extend as far as India and
the Ganges. The best known of its mountains are Annib, Nazavicium,
Asmira, Emodon, and Opurocarra.

65. The plain, which descends very suddenly from the hills, and is of
considerable extent, is watered by two famous rivers, the OEchardes
and the Bautis, which is less rapid than the other. The character too of
the different districts is very varied. One is extensive and level, the
other is on a gentle slope, and therefore very fertile in corn, and
cattle, and trees.

66. The most fertile part of the country is inhabited by various tribes,
of which the Alitrophagi, the Annibi, the Sisyges, and the Chardi lie to
the north, exposed to the frost; towards the east are the Rabannæ, the
Asmiræ, and the Essedones, the most powerful of all, who are joined on
the west by the Athagoræ, and the Aspacaræ; and on the south by the
Betæ, who live on the highest slopes of the mountains. Though they have
not many cities they have some of great size and wealth; the most
beautiful and renowned of which are Asmira, Essedon, Asparata, and Sera.

67. The Seres themselves live quietly, always avoiding arms and
battles; and as ease is pleasant to moderate and quiet men, they give
trouble to none of their neighbours. Their climate is agreeable and
healthy; the sky serene, the breezes gentle and delicious. They have
numbers of shining groves, the trees of which through continued watering
produce a crop like the fleece of a sheep, which the natives make into a
delicate wool, and spin into a kind of fine cloth, formerly confined to
the use of the nobles, but now procurable by the lowest of the people
without distinction.

68. The natives themselves are the most frugal of men, cultivating a
peaceful life, and shunning the society of other men. And when strangers
cross their river to buy their cloth, or any other of their merchandise,
they interchange no conversation, but settle the price of the articles
wanted by nods and signs; and they are so moderate that, while selling
their own produce, they never buy any foreign wares.

69. Beyond the Seres, towards the north, live the Ariani; their land is
intersected by a navigable river called the Arias, which forms a huge
lake known by the same name. This district of Asia is full of towns, the
most illustrious of which are Bitaxa, Sarmatina, Sotera, Nisibis, and
Alexandria, from which last down the river to the Caspian Sea is a
distance of fifteen hundred furlongs.

70. Close to their border, living on the slopes of the mountains, are
the Paropanisatæ, looking on the east towards India, and on the west
towards Mount Caucasus. Their principal river is Ortogordomaris, which
rises in Bactria. They have some cities, the principal being Agazaca,
Naulibus, and Ortopana, from which if you coast along the shore to the
borders of Media which are nearest to the Caspian gates, the distance is
two thousand two hundred furlongs.

71. Next to them, among the hills, are the Drangiani, whose chief river
is the Arabis, so called because it rises in Arabia; and their two
principal towns are Prophthasia and Aniaspe, both wealthy and well

72. Next to them is Arachosia, which on the right extends as far as
India. It is abundantly watered by a river much smaller than the Indus,
that greatest of rivers, which gives its name to the surrounding
regions; in fact their river flows out of the Indus, and passes on till
it forms the marsh known as Arachotoscrene. Its leading cities are
Alexandria, Arbaca, and Choaspa.

73. In the most inland districts of Persia is Gedrosia; which on its
right touches the frontier of India, and is fertilized by several
rivers, of which the greatest is the Artabius. There the Barbitani
mountains end, and from their lowest parts rise several rivers which
fall into the Indus, losing their own names in the greatness of that
superior stream. They have several islands, and their principal cities
are Sedratyra and Gynæcon.

74. We need not detail minutely every portion of the sea-coast on the
extremity of Persia, as it would lead us into too long a digression. It
will suffice to say that the sea which stretches from the Caspian
mountains along the northern side to the straits above mentioned, is
nine thousand furlongs in extent; the southern frontier, from the mouth
of the Nile to the beginning of Carmania, is fourteen thousand furlongs.

75. In these varied districts of different languages, the races of men
are as different as the places. But to describe their persons and
customs in general terms, they are nearly all slight in figure, swarthy
or rather of a pale livid complexion; fierce-looking, with goat-like
eyes, and eyebrows arched in a semicircle and joined, with handsome
beards, and long hair. They at all times, even at banquets and
festivals, wear swords; a custom which that excellent author Thucydides
tells us the Athenians were the first of the Greeks to lay aside.

76. They are generally amazingly addicted to amatory pleasures; each man
scarcely contenting himself with a multitude of concubines: from
unnatural vices they are free. Each man marries many or few wives, as he
can afford them, so that natural affection is lost among them because of
the numerous objects of their licence. They are frugal in their
banquets, avoiding immoderate indulgence and especially hard drinking,
as they would the plague.

77. Nor, except at the king's table, have they any settled time for
dining, but each man's stomach serves as his sun-dial; nor does any one
eat after he is satisfied.

78. They are marvellously temperate and cautious, so that when sometimes
marching among the gardens and vineyards of enemies, they neither
desire nor touch anything, from fear of poison or witchcraft.

79. They perform all the secret functions of nature with the most
scrupulous secrecy and modesty.

80. But they are so loose in their gait, and move with such correct ease
and freedom, that you would think them effeminate, though they are most
vigorous warriors; still they are rather crafty than bold, and are most
formidable at a distance. They abound in empty words, and speak wildly
and fiercely; they talk big, are proud, unmanageable, and threatening
alike in prosperity and adversity; they are cunning, arrogant, and
cruel, exercising the power of life and death over their slaves, and all
low-born plebeians. They flay men alive, both piecemeal, and by
stripping off the whole skin. No servant while waiting on them, or
standing at their table, may gape, speak, or spit, so that their mouths
are completely shut.

81. Their laws are remarkably severe: the most stringent are against
ingratitude and against deserters; some too are abominable, inasmuch as
for the crime of one man they condemn all his relations.

82. But as those only are appointed judges who are men of proved
experience and uprightness, and of such wisdom as to stand in no need of
advice, they laugh at our custom of sometimes appointing men of
eloquence and skill in public jurisprudence as guides to ignorant
judges. The story that one judge was compelled to sit on the skin of
another, who had been condemned for his injustice, is either an ancient
fable, or else, if ever there was such a custom, it has become obsolete.

83. In military system and discipline, by continual exercises in the
business of the camp, and the adoption of the various manoeuvres which
they have learnt from us, they have become formidable even to the
greatest armies; they trust chiefly to the valour of their cavalry, in
which all their nobles and rich men serve. Their infantry are armed like
mirmillos,[148] and are as obedient as grooms; and they always follow
the cavalry like a band condemned to everlasting slavery, never
receiving either pay or gratuity. This nation, besides those whom it has
permanently subdued, has also compelled many others to go under the
yoke; so brave is it and so skilful in all warlike exercises, that it
would be invincible were it not continually weakened by civil and by
foreign wars.

84. Most of them wear garments brilliant with various colours, so
completely enveloping the body that even though they leave the bosoms
and sides of their robes open so as to flutter in the wind, still from
their shoes to their head no part of their person is exposed. After
conquering Croesus and subduing Lydia, they learnt also to wear golden
armlets and necklaces, and jewels, especially pearls, of which they had
great quantities.

85. It only remains for me to say a few words about the origin of this
stone. Among the Indians and Persians pearls are found in strong white
sea-shells, being created at a regular time by the admixture of dew. For
the shells, desiring as it were a kind of copulation, open so as to
receive moisture from the nocturnal aspersion. Then becoming big they
produce little pearls in triplets, or pairs, or unions, which are so
called because the shells when scaled often produce only single pearls,
which then are larger.

86. And a proof that this produce arises from and is nourished by some
aërial derivation rather than by any fattening power in the sea, is that
the drops of morning dew when infused into them make the stones bright
and round; while the evening dew makes them crooked and red, and
sometimes spotted. They become either small or large in proportion to
the quality of the moisture which they imbibe, and other circumstances.
When they are shaken, as is often the case by thunder, the shells either
become empty, or produce only weak pearls, or such as never come to

87. Fishing for them is difficult and dangerous, and this circumstance
increases their value; because, on account of the snares of the
fishermen they are said to avoid the shores most frequented by them, and
hide around rocks which are difficult of access and the hiding places of

88. We are not ignorant that the same species of jewel is also produced
and collected in the remote parts of the British sea; though of an
inferior value.

[138] The book containing this account is lost.

[139] From νικάω, to conquer.

[140] As the Greek epigram has it--

  Τὸν γαίης καὶ πόντου αμειφθείσαισι κελευθοὶς
    Ναύτην ἠπείρου, πέζόπορον πελάγους.

_Thus translated in Bohn's 'Greek Anthology,' p. 25_:--

  Him, who reversed the laws great Nature gave,
  Sail'd o'er the continent and walk'd the wave,
  Three hundred spears from Sparta's iron plain
  Have stopp'd. Oh blush, ye mountains and thou main!

[141] The probability is that all these names are corrupt. Ammianus's
ignorance of the relative bearings of countries makes it difficult to
decide what they ought to be. If the proper reading of the last name be,
as Valesius thinks, Sarbaletes, that is the name given by Ptolemy to a
part of the Red Sea. A French translator of the last century considers
the Gulf of Armenia a portion of the Caspian Sea.

[142] The Ebro.

[143] The Guadalquivir.

[144] Ammianus seems to distinguish between the Hyrcanian and Caspian
Sea, which are only different names for the same sea or inland lake.

[145] A name not very unlike Nejid, to this day the most celebrated Arab

[146] There is evidently some corruption here; there is no such Greek
word as Machagistia.

[147] Il. xiii. 10.

[148] A kind of gladiator.



     I. Julian invades Assyria with his army; receives the surrender of
     Anatha, a fort on the Euphrates, and burns it.--II. Having made
     attempts on other fortresses and towns, he burns some which were
     deserted, and receives the surrender of Pirisabora, and burns
     it.--III. On account of his successes, he promises his soldiers one
     hundred denarii a man; and as they disdain so small a donation, he
     in a modest oration recalls them to a proper feeling.--IV. The town
     of Maogamalcha is stormed by the Romans, and rased to the
     ground.--V. The Romans storm a fort of great strength, both in its
     situation and fortifications, and burn it.--VI. Julian defeats the
     Persians, slays two thousand five hundred of them, with the loss of
     hardly seventy of his own men; and in a public assembly presents
     many of his soldiers with crowns.--VII. Being deterred from laying
     siege to Ctesiphon, he rashly orders all his boats to be burnt, and
     retreats from the river.--VIII. As he was neither able to make
     bridges, nor to be joined by a portion of his forces, he determines
     to return by Corduena.


A.D. 363.

§ 1. After having ascertained the alacrity of his army, which with
ardour and unanimity declared with their customary shout that their
fortunate emperor was invincible, Julian thinking it well to put an
early end to his enterprise, after a quiet night ordered the trumpets to
sound a march; and everything being prepared which the arduous
difficulties of the war required, he at daybreak entered the Assyrian
territory in high spirits, riding in front of his ranks, and exciting
all to discharge the duties of brave men in emulation of his own

2. And as a leader of experience and skill, fearing lest his ignorance
of the country might lead to his being surprised by secret ambuscades,
he began his march in line of battle. He ordered fifteen hundred
skirmishers to precede him a short distance, who were to march slowly
looking out on each side and also in front, to prevent any sudden
attack. The infantry in the centre were under his own command, they
being the flower and chief strength of the whole army, while on the
right were some legions under Nevitta, who was ordered to march along
the banks of the Euphrates. The left wing with the cavalry he gave to
Arinthæus and Hormisdas, with orders to lead them in close order through
the level and easy country of the plain. The rear was brought up by
Dagalaiphus and Victor, and the last of all was Secundinus, Duke of

3. Then in order to alarm the enemy by the idea of his superior numbers,
should they attack him anywhere, or perceive him from a distance, he
opened his ranks so as to spread both horses and men over a larger
space, in such a way that the rear was distant from the van nearly ten
miles; a manoeuvre of great skill which Pyrrhus of Epirus is said to
have often put in practice, extending his camp, or his lines, and
sometimes on the other hand compressing them all, so as to present an
appearance of greater or lesser numbers than the reality, according to
the circumstances of the moment.

4. The baggage, the sutlers, all the camp-followers, and every kind of
equipment, he placed between the two flanks of troops as they marched,
so as not to leave them unprotected and liable to be carried off by any
sudden attack, as has often happened. The fleet, although the river was
exceedingly winding, was not allowed either to fall behind or to advance
before the army.

5. After two days' march we came near a deserted town called Dura, on
the bank of the river, where many herds of deer were found, some of
which were slain by arrows, and others knocked down with the heavy oars,
so that soldiers and sailors all had plenty of food; though the greater
part of the animals, being used to swimming, plunged into the rapid
stream and could not be stopped till they had reached their well known

6. Then after an easy march of four days, as evening came on, he
embarked a thousand light-armed troops on board his boats, and sent the
Count Lucillianus to storm the fortress of Anatha, which, like many
other forts in that country, is surrounded by the waters of the
Euphrates; Lucillianus having, as he was ordered, placed his ships in
suitable places, besieged the island, a cloudy night favouring a secret

7. But as soon as it became light, one of the garrison going out to get
water, saw the enemy, and immediately raised an outcry, which roused the
awakened garrison to arm in their defence. And presently, from a high
watch-tower, the emperor examined the situation of the fort, and came up
with all speed escorted by two vessels, and followed by a considerable
squadron laden with engines for the siege.

8. And as he approached the walls, and considered that the contest could
not be carried on without great risk, he tried both by conciliatory and
threatening language to induce the garrison to surrender; and they,
having invited Hormisdas to a conference, were won over by his promises
and oaths to rely on the mercy of the Romans.

9. At last, driving before them a crowned ox, which among them is a sign
of peace, they descended from the fort as suppliants; the fort was
burnt, and Pusæus, its commander, who was afterwards Duke of Egypt, was
appointed to the rank of tribune. The rest of the garrison with their
families and property were conducted with all kindness to the Syrian
city of Chalcis.

10. Among them was found a certain soldier, who formerly, when Maximian
invaded Persia, had been left in this district as an invalid, though a
very young man, but who was now bent with age, and according to his own
account had several wives, as is the custom of that country, and a
numerous offspring. He now full of joy, professing to have been a
principal cause of the surrender, was led to our camp, calling many of
his comrades to witness that he had long foreseen and often foretold
that, though nearly a hundred years' old, he should be buried in Roman
ground. After this event, the Saracens brought in some skirmishers of
the enemy whom they had taken; these were received with joy by the
emperor, the Saracens rewarded, and sent back to achieve similar

11. The next day another disaster took place; a whirlwind arose, and
made havoc in many places, throwing down many buildings, tearing in
pieces the tents, and throwing the soldiers on their backs or on their
faces, the violence of the wind overpowering their steadiness of foot.
And the same day another equally perilous occurrence took place. For the
river suddenly overflowed its banks, and some of the ships laden with
provisions were wrecked, the piers and dams which had been constructed
of stone to check and repress the waters being swept away; and whether
that was done by treachery or through the weight of the waters could not
be known.

12. After having stormed and burnt the chief city, and sent away the
prisoners, the army with increased confidence raised triumphant shouts
in honour of the emperor, thinking that the gods were evidently making
him the object of their peculiar care.

13. And because in these unknown districts they were forced to be on
unusual guard against hidden dangers, the troops especially feared the
craft and exceeding deceitfulness of the enemy; and therefore the
emperor was everywhere, sometimes in front, sometimes with his
light-armed battalions protecting the rear, in order to see that no
concealed danger threatened it, reconnoitring the dense jungles and
valleys, and restraining the distant sallies of his soldiers, sometimes
with his natural gentleness, and sometimes with threats.

14. But he allowed the fields of the enemy which were loaded with every
kind of produce to be burnt with their crops and cottages, after his men
had collected all that they could themselves make use of. And in this
way the enemy were terribly injured before they were aware of it; for
the soldiers freely used what they had acquired with their own hands,
thinking that they had found a fresh field for their valour; and joyful
at the abundance of their supplies, they saved what they had in their
own boats.

15. But one rash soldier, being intoxicated, and having crossed over to
the opposite bank of the river, was taken prisoner before our eyes by
the enemy, and was put to death.


§ 1. After this we arrived at a fort called Thilutha, situated in the
middle of the river on a very high piece of ground, and fortified by
nature as if by the art of man. The inhabitants were invited gently, as
was best, to surrender, since the height of their fort made it
impregnable; but they refused all terms as yet, though they answered
that when the Romans had advanced further so as to occupy the interior
of the country, they also as an appendage would come over to the

2. Having made this reply they quietly looked down upon our boats as
they passed under the very walls without attempting to molest them. When
that fort was passed we came to another called Achaiacala, also defended
by the river flowing round it, and difficult to scale, where we received
a similar answer, and so passed on. The next day we came to another fort
which had been deserted because its walls were weak; and we burnt it and

3. In the two next days we marched two hundred furlongs, and arrived at
a place called Paraxmalcha. We then crossed the river, and seven miles
further on we entered the city of Diacira, which we found empty of
inhabitants but full of corn and excellent salt, and here we saw a
temple placed on the summit of a lofty height. We burnt the city and put
a few women to death whom we found there, and having passed a bituminous
spring; we entered the town of Ozogardana, which its inhabitants had
deserted for fear of our approaching army; in that town is shown a
tribunal of the emperor Trajan.

4. This town also we burnt after we had rested there two days to refresh
our bodies. On the second day just at nightfall, the Surena (who is the
officer next in rank to the king among the Persians), and a man named
Malechus Podosaces, the chief of the Assanite Saracens, who had long
ravaged our frontiers with great ferocity, laid a snare for Hormisdas,
whom by some means or other they had learnt was about to go forth on a
reconnoitring expedition, and only failed because the river being very
narrow at that point, was so deep as to be unfordable.

5. And so at daybreak, when the enemy were now in sight, the moment that
they were discovered by their glittering helmets and bristling armour,
our men sprang up vigorously to the conflict, and dashed at them with
great courage; and although the enemy wielded their huge bows with great
strength, and the glistening of their weapons increased the alarm of our
soldiers, yet their rage, and the compactness of their ranks, kept alive
and added fuel to their courage.

6. Animated by their first success, our army advanced to the village of
Macepracta, where were seen vestiges of walls half destroyed, which had
once been of great extent, and had served to protect Assyria from
foreign invasion.

7. At this point a portion of the river is drawn off in large canals
which convey it to the interior districts of Babylonia, for the service
of the surrounding country and cities. Another branch of the river known
as the Nahamalca, which means "the river of kings," passes by Ctesiphon;
at the beginning of this stream there is a lofty tower like a
lighthouse, by which our infantry passed on a carefully constructed

8. The cavalry and cattle then took the stream where it was less
violent, and swam across obliquely; another body was suddenly attacked
by the enemy with a storm of arrows and javelins, but our light-armed
auxiliaries as soon as they reached the other side, supported them, and
put the enemy to flight, cutting them to pieces as they fled.

9. After having successfully accomplished this exploit, we arrived at
the city of Pirisabora, of great size and populousness, and also
surrounded with water. But the emperor having ridden all round the walls
and reconnoitred its position, began to lay siege to it with great
caution, as if he would make the townsmen abandon its defence from mere
terror. But after several negotiations and conferences with them, as
they would yield neither to promises nor to threats, he set about the
siege in earnest, and surrounded the walls with three lines of soldiers.
The whole of the first day the combat was carried on with missiles till

10. But the garrison, full of courage and vigour, spreading cloths loose
everywhere over the battlements to weaken the attacks of our weapons,
and protected by shields strongly woven of osier, made a brave
resistance, looking like figures of iron, since they had plates of iron
closely fitting over every limb, which covered their whole person with a
safe defence.

11. Sometimes also they earnestly invited Hormisdas as a countryman and
a prince of royal blood to a conference; but when he came they reviled
him with abuse and reproaches as a traitor and deserter; and after a
great part of the day had been consumed in this slow disputing, at the
beginning of night many kinds of engines were brought against the walls,
and we began to fill up the ditches.

12. But before it was quite dawn, the garrison perceived what was being
done, with the addition that a violent stroke of a battering-ram had
broken down a tower at one corner; so they abandoned the double city
wall, and occupied a citadel close to the wall, erected on the level
summit of a ragged hill, of which the centre, rising up to a great
height in its round circle, resembled an Argive shield, except that in
the north it was not quite round, but at that point it was protected by
a precipice which ran sheer down into the Euphrates; the walls were
built of baked bricks and bitumen, a combination which is well known to
be the strongest of all materials.

13. And now the savage soldiery, having traversed the city, which they
found empty, were fighting fiercely with the defenders who poured all
kinds of missiles on them from the citadel. Being hard pressed by the
catapults and balistæ of our men, they also raised on the height huge
bows of great power, the extremities of which, rising high on each side,
could only be bent slowly; but the string, when loosed by violent
exertion of the fingers, sent forth iron-tipped arrows with such force
as to inflict fatal wounds on any one whom they struck.

14. Nevertheless, the fight was maintained on both sides with showers of
stones thrown by the hand, and as neither gained any ground a fierce
contest was protracted from daybreak to nightfall with great obstinacy;
and at last they parted without any advantage to either side. The next
day the fight was renewed with great violence, and numbers were slain on
each side, and still the result was even; when the emperor, being eager
amid this reciprocal slaughter to try every chance, being guarded by a
solid column, and defended from the arrows of the enemy by their closely
packed shields, rushed forward with a rapid charge up to the enemy's
gates, which were faced with stout iron.

15. And although he was still in some danger, being hard pressed with
stones and bullets and other weapons, still he cheered on his men with
frequent war-cries while they were preparing to force in the gates in
order to effect an entrance, and did not retreat till he found himself
on the point of being entirely overwhelmed by the mass of missiles
which were poured down on him.

16. However, he came off safe with only a few of his men slightly
wounded; not without feeling some modest shame at being repulsed. For he
had read that Scipio Æmilianus, with the historian Polybius, a citizen
of Megalopolis in Arcadia, and thirty thousand soldiers, had, by a
similar attack, forced the gate of Carthage.

17. But the account given by the old writers may serve to defend this
modern attempt; for Æmilianus approached a gate protected by a
stone-covered testudo, under which he safely forced his way into the
city while the garrison was occupied in demolishing this stone roof. But
Julian attacked a place completely exposed, while the whole face of
heaven was darkened by the fragments of rock and weapons which were
showered upon him, and was even then with great difficulty repulsed and
forced to retire.

18. After this hasty and tumultuous assault, as the vast preparations of
sheds and mounds which were carried on were attended with much
difficulty, through the hindrances offered by the garrison, Julian
ordered an engine called helepolis to be constructed with all speed;
which, as we have already mentioned, King Demetrius used, and earned the
title of Poliorcetes by the number of cities which he took.

19. The garrison, anxiously viewing this engine, which was to exceed the
height of their lofty towers, and considering at the same time the
determination of the besiegers, suddenly betook themselves to
supplications, and spreading over the towers and walls, imploring the
pardon and protection of the Romans with outstretched hands.

20. And when they saw that the works of the Romans were suspended, and
that those who were constructing them were doing nothing, which seemed a
sure token of peace, they requested an opportunity of conferring with

21. And when this was granted, Mamersides, the commander of the
garrison, was let down by a rope, and conducted to the emperor as he
desired; and having received a promise of his own life, and of impunity
to all his comrades he was allowed to return to the city. And when he
related what had been done, the citizens unanimously agreed to follow
his advice and accept the terms; and peace was solemnly made with all
the sanctions of religion, the gates were thrown open, and the whole
population went forth proclaiming that a protecting genius had shone
upon them in the person of the great and merciful Cæsar.

22. The number of those who surrendered was two thousand five hundred,
for the rest of the citizens, expecting the siege beforehand, had
crossed the river in small boats and abandoned the city. In the citadel
a great store of arms and provisions was found; and after they had taken
what they required, the conquerors burnt the rest as well as the place


§ 1. The day after these transactions, serious news reached the emperor
as he was quietly taking his dinner, that the Surena, the Persian
general, had surprised three squadrons of our advanced guard, and slain
a few, among whom was one tribune; and had also taken a standard.

2. Immediately Julian became violently exasperated, and flew to the spot
with an armed band, placing much hope of success in the rapidity of his
movements: he routed the assailants disgracefully, cashiered the other
two tribunes as blunderers and cowards, and in imitation of the ancient
laws of Rome disbanded ten of the soldiers who had fled, and then
condemned them to death.

3. Then, having burnt the city as I have already mentioned, he mounted a
tribunal which he had caused to be erected, and having convoked his
army, he thanked them, and counted upon their achieving other similar
exploits. He also promised them each a hundred pieces of silver; but
seeing that they were inclined to murmur, as being disappointed at the
smallness of the sum, he became most indignant and said:--

4. "Behold the Persians who abound in wealth of every kind; their riches
may enrich you if we only behave gallantly with one unanimous spirit of
resolution. But after having been very rich, I assure you that the
republic is at this moment in great want, through the conduct of those
men who, to increase their own wealth, taught former emperors to return
home after buying peace of the barbarians with gold.

5. "The treasury is empty, the cities are exhausted, the finances are
stripped bare. I myself have neither treasures, nor, noble as I am by
birth, do I inherit anything from my family but a heart free from all
fear. Nor shall I be ashamed to place all my happiness in the
cultivation of my mind, while preferring an honourable poverty. For the
Fabricii also conducted great wars while poor in estate and rich only in

6. "Of all these things you may have plenty, if, discarding all fear,
you act with moderation, obeying the cautious guidance of God and
myself, as far as human reason can lead you safely; but if you disobey,
and choose to return to your former shameful mutinies, proceed.

7. "As an emperor should do, I by myself, having performed the important
duties which belong to me, will die standing, despising a life which any
fever may take from me: or else I will abdicate my power, for I have not
lived so as to be unable to descend to a private station. I rejoice in,
and feel proud of the fact that there are with me many leaders of proved
skill and courage, perfect in every kind of military knowledge."

8. By this modest speech of their emperor, thus unmoved alike by
prosperity and adversity, the soldiers were for a time appeased,
regaining confidence with an expectation of better success; and
unanimously promised to be docile and obedient, at the same time
extolling Julian's authority and magnanimity to the skies; and, as is
their wont when their feelings are genuine and cordial, they showed them
by a gentle rattling of their arms.

9. Then they returned to their tents, and refreshed themselves with
food, for which they had abundant means, and with sleep during the
night. But Julian encouraged his army not by the idea of their families,
but by the thoughts of the greatness of the enterprises in which they
were embarked: continually making vows--"So might he be able to make the
Persians pass under the yoke." "So might he restore the Roman power
which had been shaken in those regions,"--in imitation of Trajan, who
was accustomed frequently to confirm anything he had said by the
imprecations--"So may I see Dacia reduced to the condition of a
province; so may I bridge over the Danube and Euphrates,"--using many
similar forms of attestation.

10. Then after proceeding fourteen miles further we came to a certain
spot where the soil is fertilized by the abundance of water. But as the
Persians had learnt that we should advance by this road, they removed
the dams and allowed the waters to flood the country.

11. The ground being thereby, for a great distance, reduced to the state
of a marsh, the emperor gave the soldiers the next day for rest, and
advancing in front himself, constructed a number of little bridges of
bladders, and coracles[149] made of skins, and rafts of palm-tree
timber, and thus led his army across, though not without difficulty.

12. In this region many of the fields are planted with vineyards and
various kinds of fruit trees; and palm-trees grow there over a great
extent of country, reaching as far as Mesene and the ocean, forming
great groves. And wherever any one goes he sees continual stocks and
suckers of palms, from the fruit of which abundance of honey and wine is
made, and the palms themselves are said to be divided into male and
female, and it is added that the two sexes can be easily distinguished.

13. They say further that the female trees produce fruit when
impregnated by the seeds of the male trees, and even that they feel
delight in their mutual love: and that this is clearly shown by the fact
that they lean towards one another, and cannot be bent back even by
strong winds--and if by any unusual accident a female tree is not
impregnated by the male seed, it produces nothing but imperfect fruit,
and if they cannot find out with what male tree any female tree is in
love, they smear the trunk of some tree with the oil which proceeds from
her, and then some other tree naturally conceives a fondness for the
odour; and these proofs create some belief in the story of their

14. The army then, having sated itself with these fruits, passed by
several islands, and instead of the scarcity which they apprehended, the
fear arose that they would become too fat. At last, after having been
attacked by an ambuscade of the enemy's archers, but having avenged
themselves well, they came to a spot where the larger portion of the
Euphrates is divided into a number of small streams.


§ 1. In this district a city, which on account of the lowness of its
walls, had been deserted by its Jewish inhabitants, was burnt by our
angry soldiers. And afterwards the emperor proceeded further on, being
elated at the manifest protection, as he deemed it, of the Deity.

2. And when he had reached Maogamalcha, a city of great size and
surrounded with strong walls, he pitched his tent, and took anxious care
that his camp should not be surprised by any sudden attack of the
Persian cavalry; whose courage in the open plains is marvellously
dreaded by the surrounding nations.

3. And when he had made his arrangements, he himself, with an escort of
a few light troops, went forth on foot to reconnoitre the position of a
city by a close personal examination; but he fell into a dangerous snare
from which he with difficulty escaped with his life.

4. For ten armed Persians stole out by a gate of the town of which he
was not aware, and crawled on their hands and knees along the bottom of
the hill, till they got within reach so as to fall silently upon our
men, and two of them distinguishing the emperor by his superior
appearance, made at him with drawn swords; but he encountered them with
his shield raised, and protecting himself with that, and fighting with
great and noble courage, he ran one of them through the body, while his
guards killed the other with repeated blows. The rest, of whom some were
wounded, were put to flight, and the two who were slain were stripped of
their arms, and the emperor led back his comrades in safety, laden with
their spoils, into the camp, where he was received with universal joy.

5. Torquatus took a golden necklace from one of the enemy whom he had
slain. Valerius by the aid of a crow defeated a haughty Gaul and earned
the surname of Corvinus, and by this glory these heroes were recommended
to posterity. We do not envy them, but let this gallant exploit be added
to those ancient memorials.

6. The next day a bridge was laid across the river, and the army passed
over it, and pitched their camp in a fresh and more healthy place,
fortifying it with a double rampart, since, as we have said, the open
plains were regarded with apprehension. And then he undertook the siege
of the town, thinking it too dangerous to march forward while leaving
formidable enemies in his rear.

7. While he was making great exertions to complete his preparations, the
Surena, the enemy's general, fell upon the cattle which were feeding in
the palm groves, but was repulsed by those of our squadrons who were
appointed to that service, and, having lost a few men, he retired.

8. And the inhabitants of two cities which are made islands by the
rivers which surround them, fearing to trust in their means of defence,
fled for refuge to Ctesiphon, some fleeing through the thick woods,
others crossing the neighbouring marshes on canoes formed out of
hollowed trees, and thus made a long journey to the principal or indeed
the only shelter which existed for them, intending to proceed to still
more distant regions.

9. Some of them were overtaken, and on their resistance were put to
death by our soldiers, who, traversing various districts in barks and
small boats, brought in from time to time many prisoners. For it had
been cleverly arranged that, while the infantry was besieging the town,
the squadrons of cavalry should scour the country in small bands in
order to bring in booty. And by this system, without doing any injury to
the inhabitants of the provinces, the soldiers fed on the bowels of the

10. And by this time the emperor was besieging with all his might and
with a triple line of heavily armed soldiers this town which was
fortified with a double wall; and he had great hope of succeeding in his
enterprise. But if the attempt was indispensable, the execution was very
difficult. For the approach to the town lay everywhere over rocks of
great height and abruptness; across which there was no straight road;
and dangers of two kinds seemed to render the place inaccessible. In the
first place there were towers formidable both for their height and for
the number of their garrison; equalling in height the natural mountain
on which the citadel was built; and secondly, a sloping plain reached
down to the river, which again was protected by stout ramparts.

11. There was a third difficulty not less formidable that the numerous
garrison of picked men which defended the place could not be won over by
any caresses to surrender, but resisted the enemy as if resolved either
to conquer or to perish amid the ashes of their country. The soldiers,
who desired to attack at once, and also insisted upon a pitched battle
in a fair field, could hardly be restrained, and when the retreat was
sounded they burnt with indignation, being eager to make courageous
onsets on the enemy.

12. But the wisdom of our leaders overcame the eagerness of mere
courage; and the work being distributed, every one set about his
allotted task with great alacrity. For on one side high mounds were
raised; on another other parties were raising the deep ditches to the
level of the ground; in other quarters hollow pitfalls were covered over
with long planks; artisans also were placing mural engines soon intended
to burst forth with fatal roars.

13. Nevitta and Dagalaiphus superintended the miners and the erection of
the vineæ, or penthouses; but the beginning of the actual conflict, and
the defence of the machines from fire or from sallies of the garrison,
the emperor took to himself. And when all the preparations for taking
the city had been completed by this variety of labour, and the soldiers
demanded to be led to the assault, a captain named Victor returned, who
had explored all the roads as far as Ctesiphon, and now brought word
that he had met with no obstacles.

14. At this news all the soldiers became wild with joy, and being more
elated and eager for the contest than ever, they waited under arms for
the signal.

15. And now on both sides the trumpets sounded with martial clang, and
the Roman vanguard, with incessant attacks and threatening cries,
assailed the enemy, who were covered from head to foot with thin plates
of iron like the feathers of a bird, and who had full confidence that
any weapons that fell on this hard iron would recoil; while our
close-packed shields with which our men covered themselves as with a
testudo, opened loosely so as to adapt themselves to their continual
motion. On the other hand the Persians, obstinately clinging to their
walls, laboured with all their might to avoid and frustrate our deadly

16. But when the assailants, pushing the osier fences before them,
passed up to the walls, the archers, slingers and others, rolling down
huge stones, with firebrands and fire-pots, repelled them to a distance.
Then the balistæ, armed with wooden arrows, were bent and loosened with
a horrid creak, and poured forth incessant storms of darts. And the
scorpions hurled forth round stones under the guidance of the skilful
hands of their workers.

17. The combat was repeated and redoubled in violence till the heat
increasing up to midday, and the sun burning up everything with its
evaporation, recalled from the battle the combatants on both sides,
equally intent as they were on the works and on the fray, but thoroughly
exhausted by fatigue and dripping with sweat.

18. The same plan was followed the next day, the two parties contending
resolutely in various modes of fighting, and again they parted with
equal valour, and equal fortune. But in every danger the emperor was
foremost among the armed combatants, urging on the destruction of the
city lest, by being detained too long before its walls, he should be
forced to abandon other objects which he had at heart.

19. But in times of emergency nothing is so unimportant as not
occasionally to influence great affairs, even contrary to all
expectation. For when, as had often happened, the two sides were
fighting slackly, and on the point of giving over, a battering-ram which
had just been brought up, being pushed forward awkwardly, struck down a
tower which was higher than any of the others, and was very strongly
built of baked brick, and its fall brought down all the adjacent portion
of the wall with a mighty crash.

20. Then in the variety of incidents which arose, the exertions of the
besiegers and the gallantry of the besieged were equally conspicuous
with noble exploits. For to our soldiers, inflamed with anger and
indignation, nothing appeared difficult. To the garrison, fighting for
their safety, nothing seemed dangerous or formidable. At last, when the
fierce contest had raged a long time and was still undecided, great
slaughter having been made on both sides, the close of day broke it off,
and both armies yielded to fatigue.

21. While these matters were thus going on in broad daylight, news was
brought to the emperor, who was full of watchful care, that the
legionary soldiers to whom the digging of the mines had been intrusted,
having hollowed out their subterranean paths and supported them with
stout stakes, had now reached the bottom of the foundations of the
walls, and were ready to issue forth if he thought fit.

22. When therefore a great part of the night was passed, the brazen
trumpets sounded the signal for advancing to battle, and the troops ran
to arms; and as had been planned, the wall was attacked on both its
faces, in order that while the garrison were running to and fro to repel
the danger, and while the noise of the iron tools of the miners digging
at the foundations was overpowered by the din of battle, the miners
should come forth on a sudden without any one being at the mouth of the
mine to resist them.

23. When these plans had all been arranged, and the garrison was fully
occupied, the mine was opened, and Exsuperius, a soldier of the
Victorian legion, sprung out, followed by a tribune named Magnus, and
Jovianus, a secretary, and an intrepid body of common soldiers, who,
after slaughtering all the men found in the temple into which the mine
opened, went cautiously forward and slew the sentinels, who were
occupying themselves after the fashion of their country in singing the
praises, the justice, and good fortune of their king.

24. It was believed that Mars himself (if indeed the gods are permitted
to mingle with men) aided Luscinus when he forced the camp of the
Lucanians. And it was the more believed because in the height of the
conflict there was seen an armed figure of enormous size carrying
ladders, who the next day, when the roll was called over, though sought
for very carefully, could not be found anywhere; when if he had really
been a soldier he would have come forward of his own accord from a
consciousness of his gallant action. But though on that occasion it was
never known who performed that splendid achievement, yet those who now
behaved bravely were not unknown, but received obsidional crowns, and
were publicly praised according to the ancient fashion.

25. At last the fated city, its numerous entrances being laid open, was
entered by the Romans, and the furious troops destroyed all whom they
found, without regard to age or sex. Some of the citizens, from dread of
impending destruction, threatened on one side with fire, on the other
with the sword, weeping threw themselves headlong over the walls, and
being crippled in all their limbs, led for a few hours or days a life
more miserable than any death till they were finally killed.

26. But Nabdates, the captain of the garrison, was taken alive with
eighty of his guards; and when he was brought before the emperor, that
magnanimous and merciful prince ordered him to be kept in safety. The
booty was divided according to a fair estimate of the merits and labours
of the troops. The emperor, who was contented with very little, took for
his own share of the victory he had thus gained three pieces of gold and
a dumb child who was brought to him, and who by elegant signs and
gesticulations explained all he knew, and considered that an acceptable
and sufficient prize.

27. But of the virgins who were taken prisoners, and who, as was likely
in Persia, where female beauty is remarkable, were exceedingly
beautiful, he would neither touch nor even see one; imitating Alexander
and Scipio, who refused similar opportunities, in order, after having
proved themselves unconquered by toil, not to show themselves the
victims of desire.

28. While the battle was going on, an engineer on our side, whose name I
do not know, who happened to be standing just behind a scorpion, was
knocked down and killed by the recoil of a stone, which the worker of
the engine had fitted to the sling carelessly, his whole body being so
dislocated and battered that he could not even be recognized.

29. After the town was taken intelligence was brought to the emperor
that a troop was lying in ambuscade in some concealed pits around the
walls of the town just taken (of which pits there are many in those
districts), with the intention of surprising the rear of our army by a
sudden attack.

30. A body of picked infantry of tried courage was therefore sent to
take the troop prisoners. But as they could neither force their way
into the pits, nor induce those concealed in them to come forth to
fight, they collected some straw and faggots, and piled them up before
the mouths of the caves, and then set them on fire, from which the smoke
penetrated into the caverns through the narrow crevice, being the more
dense because of the small space through which it was forced, and so
suffocated some of them; others the fire compelled to come forth to
instant destruction; and in this manner they were destroyed by sword or
by fire, and our men returned with speed to their camp. Thus was this
large and populous city, with its powerful garrison, stormed by the
Romans, and the city itself reduced to ruins.

31. After this glorious exploit the bridges which led over several
rivers were crossed in succession, and we reached two forts, constructed
with great strength and skill, where the son of the king endeavoured to
prevent Count Victor, who was marching in the van of the army, from
crossing the river, having advanced for that purpose from Ctesiphon with
a large body of nobles and a considerable armed force; but when he saw
the numbers which were following Victor, he retreated.


§ 1. So we advanced and came to some groves, and also to some fields
fertile with a great variety of crops, where we found a palace built in
the Roman fashion, which, so pleased were we with the circumstance, we
left unhurt.

2. There was also in this same place a large round space, enclosed,
containing wild beasts, intended for the king's amusement; lions with
shaggy manes, tusked boars, and bears of amazing ferocity (as the
Persian bears are), and other chosen beasts of vast size. Our cavalry,
however, forced the gates of this enclosure, and killed all the beasts
with hunting-spears and clouds of arrows.

3. This district is rich and well cultivated: not far off is Coche,
which is also called Seleucia; where we fortified a camp with great
celerity, and rested there two days to refresh the army with timely
supplies of water and provisions. The emperor himself in the meanwhile
proceeded with his advanced guard and reconnoitred a deserted city which
had been formerly destroyed by the Emperor Verus, where an everlasting
spring forms a large tube which communicates with the Tigris. Here we
saw, hanging on gallows, many bodies of the relations of the man whom we
have spoken of above as having betrayed Pirisabora.

4. Here also Nabdates was burnt alive, he whom I have mentioned above as
having been taken with eighty of his garrison while hiding among the
ruins of the city which we had taken; because at the beginning of the
siege he had secretly promised to betray it, but afterwards had resisted
us vigorously, and after having been unexpectedly pardoned had risen to
such a pitch of violence as to launch all kinds of abuse against

5. Then after advancing some distance we heard of a sad disaster: for
while three cohorts of the advanced guard, who were in light marching
order, were fighting with a Persian division which had made a sally out
of the city gates, another body of the enemy cut off and slew our
cattle, which were following us on the other side of the river, with a
few of our foragers who were straggling about in no great order.

6. The emperor was enraged and indignant at this; he was now near the
district of Ctesiphon, and had just reached a lofty and well-fortified
castle. He went himself to reconnoitre it, being, as he fancied,
concealed, as he rode with a small escort close to the walls; but as
from too much eagerness he got within bowshot, he was soon noticed, and
was immediately assailed by every kind of missile, and would have been
killed by an arrow shot from an engine on the walls, if it had not
struck his armour-bearer, who kept close by his side, and he himself,
being protected by the closely-packed shields of his guards, fell back,
after having been exposed to great danger.

7. At this he was greatly enraged, and determined to lay siege to the
fort; but the garrison was very resolute to defend it, believing the
place to be nearly inaccessible, and that the king, who was advancing
with great speed at the head of a large army, would soon arrive to their

8. And now, the vineæ and everything else required for the siege being
prepared, at the second watch, when the night, which happened to be one
of very bright moonlight, made everything visible to the defenders on
the battlements, suddenly the whole multitude of the garrison formed
into one body, threw open the gates and sallied out, and attacking a
division of our men who were not expecting them, slew numbers, among
whom one tribune was killed as he was endeavouring to repel the attack.

9. And while this was going on, the Persians, having attacked a portion
of our men in the same manner as before from the opposite side of the
river, slew some and took others prisoners. And our men, in alarm, and
because they believed the enemy had come into the field in very superior
numbers, behaved at first with but little spirit; but presently, when
they recovered their courage, they flew again to arms, and being roused
by the sound of the trumpets, they hastened to the charge with
threatening cries, upon which the Persians retired to the garrison
without further contest.

10. And the emperor, being terribly angry, reduced those of the cavalry
who had shown a want of courage when attacked to serve in the infantry,
which is a severer service and one of less honour.

11. Then, being very eager to take a castle where he had incurred so
much danger, he devoted all his own labour and care to that end, never
himself retiring from the front ranks of his men, in order that by
fighting in the van he might be an example of gallantry to his soldiers,
and might be also sure to see, and therefore able to reward, every
gallant action. And when he had exposed himself a long time to imminent
danger, the castle, having been assailed by every kind of manoeuvre,
weapon, and engine, and by great valour on the part of the besiegers,
was at length taken and burnt.

12. After this, in consideration of the great labour of the exploits
which they had performed, and which were before them, he granted rest to
his army, exhausted with its excessive toil, and distributed among them
provisions in abundance. Then a rampart was raised round the camp, with
dense rows of palisades, and a deep fosse, as sudden sallies and various
formidable manoeuvres were dreaded, since they were very near


§ 1. From this place they advanced to a canal known as Naharmalcha, a
name which means "The River of Kings." It was then dry. Long ago Trajan,
and after him Severus, had caused the soil to be dug out, and had given
great attention to constructing this as a canal of great size, so that,
being filled with water from the Euphrates, it might enable vessels to
pass into the Tigris.

2. And for every object in view it appeared best that this should now be
cleaned out, as the Persians, fearing such an operation, had blocked it
up with a mass of stones. After it had been cleared and the dams
removed, a large body of water was let in, so that our fleet, after a
safe voyage of thirty furlongs, passed into the Tigris. There the army
at once threw bridges across the river, and passing over to the other
side, marched upon Coche.

3. And that after our fatigue we might enjoy seasonable rest, we
encamped in an open plain, rich with trees, vines, and cypresses, in the
middle of which was a shady and delicious pavilion, having all over it,
according to the fashion of the country, pictures of the king slaying
wild beasts in the chase; for they never paint or in any way represent
anything except different kinds of slaughter and war.

4. Having now finished everything according to his wish, the emperor,
rising higher in spirit as his difficulties increased, and building such
hopes on Fortune, which had not yet proved unfavourable to him, that he
often pushed his boldness to the verge of temerity, unloaded some of the
strongest of the vessels which were carrying provisions and warlike
engines, and put on board of them eight hundred armed men; and keeping
the main part of the fleet with him, which he divided into three
squadrons, he settled that one under the command of Count Victor should
start at nightfall, in order to cross the river with speed, and so seize
on the bank in possession of the enemy.

5. The generals were greatly alarmed at this plan, and unanimously
entreated him to forego it; but as they could not prevail, the signal
for sailing was raised, as he commanded, and at once five ships hastened
onwards out of sight; and when they drew near to the bank they were
attacked with an incessant storm of fire-pots and every kind of
contrivance to handle flames, and they would have been burnt soldiers
and all if the emperor, being roused, had not with great energy hastened
to the spot, shouting out that our men, as they were ordered, had made
him a signal that they were now masters of the bank of the river, and
ordering the whole fleet to hasten forward with all speed.

6. In consequence of which vigour the ships were saved, and the
soldiers, though harassed by the enemy from their commanding ground with
stones and every kind of missile, nevertheless after a fierce conflict
made good their footing on the high bank of the river, and established
themselves immovably.

7. History marvels that Sertorius swam across the Rhone with his arms
and his breastplate; but on this occasion, some soldiers, though
disordered, fearing to remain behind after the signal for battle was
raised, clinging firmly to their shields, which are broad and concave,
and guiding them, though without much skill, kept pace with the speed of
the vessels through a river full of currents.

8. The Persians resisted this attack with squadrons of cuirassier
cavalry in such close order that their bodies dazzled the eye, fitting
together, as it seemed, with their brilliant armour; while their horses
were all protected with a covering of stout leather. As a reserve to
support them several maniples of infantry were stationed, protected by
crooked, oblong shields, made of wicker-work and raw hides, behind which
they moved in compact order. Behind them were elephants, like so many
walking hills, which by every motion of their huge bodies threatened
destruction to all who came near them, and our men had been taught to
fear them by past experience.

9. On this the emperor, according to the arrangement of the Greek army
as mentioned by Homer,[150] allotted the centre space between his two
lines to his weakest infantry, lest if they were placed in the front
rank, and should then misbehave, they should disorder the whole of his
line; or lest, on the other hand, if posted in the rear, behind all the
other centuries, they should flee without shame, since there would be no
one to check them: he with his light-armed auxiliaries moving as might
be required between the lines.

10. Therefore when the two armies beheld each other, the Romans
glittering with their crested helmets, and brandishing their shields,
proceeded slowly, their bands playing an anapæstic measure; and after a
preliminary skirmish, carried on by the missiles of the front rank, they
rushed to battle with such vehemence that the earth trembled beneath

11. The battle-shout was raised on all sides, as was usual, the braying
trumpets encouraged the eagerness of the men: all fought in close combat
with spears and drawn swords, so that the soldiers were free from all
danger of arrows the more rapidly they pressed onwards. Meanwhile,
Julian, like a gallant comrade, at the same time that he was a skilful
general, hasten to support his hardly-pressed battalions with reserves,
and to cheer on the laggards.

12. So the front line of the Persians wavered, having been never very
fierce; and at last, no longer able to support the heat of their armour,
they retreated in haste to their city, which was near: they were pursued
by our soldiers, weary as they were with having fought in those torrid
plains from daybreak to sunset; and we, pressing close on their heels,
drove them, with their choicest generals, Pigranes, the Surena, and
Narses, right up to the walls of Ctesiphon, inflicting many wounds on
their legs and backs.

13. And we should have forced our entrance into the city if a general
named Victor had not, by lifting up his hands and his voice, checked us,
being himself pierced through the shoulder with an arrow, and fearing
lest if the soldiers allowed themselves to be hurried within the walls
without any order, and could then find no means of returning, they might
be overwhelmed by the mass of their enemies.

14. Let the poets celebrate the ancient battles of Hector, or extol the
valour of the Thessalian Achilles; let past ages tell the praises of
Sophanes, and Aminias, and Callimachus, and Cynægirus, those
thunderbolts of war in the struggles of the Greeks against Persia; but
it is evident by the confession of all men that the gallantry displayed
by some of our troops on that day was equal to any of their exploits.

15. After having laid aside their fears, and trampled on the carcases of
their enemies, the soldiers, still stained with the blood so justly
shed, collected round the tent of the emperor, loading him with praises
and thanks, because, while behaving with such bravery that it was hard
to say whether he had been more a general or a soldier, he had conducted
the affair with such success that not above seventy of our men had
fallen, while nearly two thousand five hundred of the Persians had been
slain. And he in his turn addressed by name most of those whose steady
courage and gallant actions he had witnessed, presenting them with
naval, civic, and military crowns.

16. Thinking that this achievement would surely be followed by other
similar successes, he prepared a large sacrifice to Mars the Avenger.
Ten most beautiful bulls were brought for the purpose, nine of which,
even before they reached the altars, lay down of their own accord with
mournful countenances, but the tenth broke his bonds and escaped, and
was with difficulty brought back at all; and when sacrificed displayed
very unfavourable omens; but when he saw this, Julian became very
indignant, and exclaimed, calling Jupiter to witness, that henceforth he
would offer no sacrifices to Mars. Nor did he recall his vow, being cut
off by a speedy death.


§ 1. Julian, having discussed with his chief officers the plan for the
siege of Ctesiphon, it appeared to some of them that it would be an act
of unseasonable temerity to attack that city, both because its situation
made it almost impregnable, and also because King Sapor was believed to
be hastening to its protection with a formidable army.

2. The better opinion prevailed; and the sagacious emperor being
convinced of its wisdom, sent Arinthæus with a division of light
infantry, to lay waste the surrounding districts, which were rich both
in herds and in crops, with orders also to pursue the enemy with equal
energy, for many of them were wandering about, concealed amid overgrown
by-ways, and lurking-places known only to themselves. The booty was

3. But Julian himself, being always eager to extend his conquests,
disregarded the advice of those who remonstrated against his advance;
and reproaching his chiefs, as men who out of mere laziness and a love
of ease advised him to let go the kingdom of Persia when he had almost
made himself master of it, left the river on his left hand, and led by
unlucky guides, determined to proceed towards the inland parts of the
country by forced marches.

4. And he ordered all his ships to be burnt, as if with the fatal torch
of Bellona herself, except twelve of the smaller vessels, which he
arranged should be carried on waggons, as likely to be of use for
building bridges. And he thought this a most excellently conceived plan,
to prevent his fleet if left behind from being of any use to the enemy,
or on the other hand to prevent what happened at the outset of the
expedition, nearly twenty thousand men being occupied in moving and
managing the vessels.

5. Then, as the men began in their alarm to grumble to themselves (as
indeed manifest truth pointed out), that the soldiers if hindered from
advancing by the height of the mountains or the dryness of the country,
would have no means of returning to get water, and when the deserters,
on being put to the torture openly confessed that they had made a false
report, he ordered all hands to labour to extinguish the flames. But the
fire, having got to a great head, had consumed most of them, so that
only the twelve could be preserved unhurt, which were set apart to be
taken care of.

6. In this way the fleet being unseasonably destroyed, Julian, relying
on his army which was now all united, having none of its divisions
diverted to other occupations, and so being strong in numbers, advanced
inland, the rich district through which he marched supplying him with an
abundance of provisions.

7. When this was known, the enemy, with a view to distressing us by want
of supplies, burnt up all the grass and the nearly ripe crops; and we,
being unable to advance by reason of the conflagration, remained
stationary in our camp till the fire was exhausted. And the Persians,
insulting us from a distance, sometimes spread themselves widely on
purpose, sometimes offered us resistance in a compact body; so that to
us who beheld them from a distance it might seem that the reinforcements
of the king had come up, and we might imagine that it was on that
account that they had ventured on their audacious sallies and unwonted

8. Both the emperor and the troops were greatly vexed at this, because
they had no means of constructing a bridge, since the ships had been
inconsiderately destroyed, nor could any check be offered to the
movements of the strange enemy, whom the glistening brilliancy of their
arms showed to be close at hand; this armour of theirs being singularly
adapted to all the inflections of their body. There was another evil of
no small weight, that the reinforcements which we were expecting to
arrive under the command of Arsaces and some of our own generals, did
not make their appearance, being detained by the causes already


§ 1. The emperor, to comfort his soldiers who were made anxious by these
events, ordered the prisoners who were of slender make, as the Persians
usually are, and who were now more than usually emaciated, to be brought
before the army; and looking at our men he said, "Behold what those
warlike spirits consider men, little ugly dirty goats; and creatures
who, as many events have shown, throw away their arms and take to flight
before they can come to blows."

2. And when he had said this, and had ordered the prisoners to be
removed, he held a consultation on what was to be done; and after many
opinions of different kinds had been delivered, the common soldiers
inconsiderately crying out that it was best to return by the same way
they had advanced, the emperor steadily opposed this idea, and was
joined by several officers who contended that this could not be done,
since all the forage and crops had been destroyed throughout the plain,
and the remains of the villages which had been burnt were all in
complete destitution, and could afford no supplies; because also the
whole soil was soaked everywhere from the snows of winter, and the
rivers had overflowed their banks and were now formidable torrents.

3. There was this further difficulty, that in those districts where the
heat and evaporation are great, every place is infested with swarms of
flies and gnats, and in such numbers that the light of the sun and of
the stars is completely hidden by them.

4. And as human sagacity was of no avail in such a state of affairs, we
were long in doubt and perplexity; and raising altars and sacrificing
victims we consulted the will of the gods; inquiring whether it was
their will that we should return through Assyria, or advancing slowly
along the foot of the mountain chain, should surprise and plunder
Chiliocomum near Corduena; but neither of these plans was conformable to
the omens presented by an inspection of the sacrifices.

5. However it was decided, that since there was no better prospect
before us, to seize on Corduena; and on the 16th June we struck our
camp, and at daybreak the emperor set forth, when suddenly was seen
either smoke or a great cloud of dust; so that many thought it was
caused by herds of wild asses, of which there are countless numbers in
those regions, and who were now moving in a troop, in order by their
compactness to ward off the ferocious attacks of lions.

6. Some, however, fancied that it was caused by the approach of the
Saracen chieftains, our allies, who had heard that the emperor was
besieging Ctesiphon in great force: some again affirmed that the
Persians were lying in wait for us on our march.

7. Therefore amid all these doubtful opinions, the trumpets sounded a
halt, in order to guard against any reverse, and we halted in a grassy
valley near a stream, where, packing our shields in close order and in a
circular figure, we pitched our camp and rested in safety. Nor, so dark
did it continue till evening, could we distinguish what it was that had
so long obscured the view.

[149] Small boats made of wicker and covered with hide; still used in
Wales, where they are also called thorricle, truckle, or cobble.

[150] See Il. iv. 297:--

  Ἰππῆας μὲν πρῶπα σὺν ἵπποισιν καὶ ὄχέσφιν
  πεζοὺς δ’ εξόπιθεν στῆσεν πολέας τε καὶ ἐσθλούς
  ἔρκος ἔμεν πολέμοιο, κακοὺς δ’ εἰς μέσσον ἔλασσεν.

Thus translated by Pope:--

  "The horse and chariots to the front assigned,
  The foot (the strength of war) he placed behind;
  The middle space suspected troops supply,
  Enclosed by both, nor left the power to fly."



     I. The Persians attack the Romans on their march, but are gallantly
     repelled.--II. The army is distressed by want of corn and forage;
     Julian is alarmed by prodigies.--III. The emperor, while, in order
     to repulse the Persians, who pressed him on all quarters, he rashly
     rushes into battle without his breastplate, is wounded by a spear,
     and is borne back to his tent, where he addresses those around him,
     and, after drinking some cold water, dies.--IV. His virtues and
     vices; his personal appearance.--V. Jovian, the captain[151] of the
     imperial guards, is tumultuously elected emperor.--VI. The Romans
     hasten to retreat from Persia, and on their march are continually
     attacked by the Persians and Saracens, whom, however, they repulse
     with great loss.--VII. The emperor Jovian, being influenced by the
     scarcity and distress with which his army is oppressed, makes a
     necessary but disgraceful peace with Sapor; abandoning five
     provinces, with the cities of Nisibis and Singara.--VIII. The
     Romans having crossed the Tigris, after a very long and terrible
     scarcity of provisions, which they endured with great courage, at
     length reach Mesopotamia--Jovian arranges the affairs of Illyricum
     and Gaul to the best of his power.--IX. Bineses, a noble Persian,
     acting for Sapor, receives from Jovian the impregnable city of
     Nisibis; the citizens are unwilling to quit their country, but are
     compelled to migrate to Amida--Five provinces, with the city of
     Singara, and sixteen fortresses, are, according to the terms of the
     treaty, handed over to the Persian nobles.--X. Jovian, fearing a
     revolution, marches with great speed through Syria, Cilicia,
     Cappadocia, and Galatia, and at Ancyra enters on the consulship,
     with his infant son Varronianus, and soon afterwards dies suddenly
     at Dadastana.


A.D. 363.

§ 1. The night was dark and starless, and passed by us as nights are
passed in times of difficulty and perplexity; no one out of fear daring
to sit down, or to close his eyes. But as soon as day broke, brilliant
breastplates surrounded with steel fringes, and glittering cuirasses,
were seen at a distance, and showed that the king's army was at hand.

2. The soldiers were roused at this sight, and hastened to engage,
since only a small stream separated them from the Persians, but were
checked by the emperor; a sharp skirmish did indeed take place between
our outposts and the Persians, close to the rampart of our camp, in
which Machamæus, the captain of one of our squadrons was stricken down:
his brother Maurus, afterwards Duke of Phoenicia, flew to his support,
and slew the man who had killed Machamæus, and crushed all who came in
his way, till he himself was wounded in the shoulder by a javelin; but
he still was able by great exertions to bring off his brother, who was
now pale with approaching death.

3. Both sides were nearly exhausted with the intolerable violence of the
heat and the repeated conflicts, but at last the hostile battalions were
driven back in great disorder. Then while we fell back to a greater
distance, the Saracens were also compelled to retreat from fear of our
infantry, but presently afterwards joining themselves to the Persian
host, they attacked us again, with more safety to themselves for the
purpose of carrying off the Roman baggage. But when they saw the emperor
they again retreated upon their reserve.

4. After leaving this district we reached a village called Hucumbra,
where we rested two days, procuring all kinds of provisions and
abundance of corn, so that we moved on again after being refreshed
beyond our hopes; all that the time would not allow us to take away we

5. The next day the army was advancing more quietly, when the Persians
unexpectedly fell upon our last division, to whom that day the duty fell
of bringing up the rear, and would easily have slain all the men, had
not our cavalry, which happened to be at hand, the moment that they
heard what was going on, hastened up, though scattered over the wide
valley, and repulsed this dangerous attack, wounding all who had thus
surprised them.

6. In this skirmish fell Adaces, a noble satrap, who had formerly been
sent as ambassador to the emperor Constantius, and had been kindly
received by him. The soldier who slew him brought his arms to Julian,
and received the reward he deserved.

7. The same day one of our corps of cavalry, known as the third legion,
was accused of having gradually given way, so that when the legions were
on the point of breaking the enemy's line, they nearly broke the spirit
of the whole army.

8. And Julian, being justly indignant at this, deprived them of their
standards, broke their spears, and condemned all those who were
convicted of having misbehaved of marching among the baggage and
prisoners; while their captain, the only one of their number who had
behaved well, was appointed to the command of another squadron, the
tribune of which was convicted of having shamefully left the field.

9. And four other tribunes of companies were also cashiered for similar
misconduct; for the emperor was contented with this moderate degree of
punishment out of consideration for his impending difficulties.

10. Accordingly, having advanced seventy furlongs with very scanty
supplies, the herbage and the corn being all burnt, each man saved for
himself just as much of the grain or forage as he could snatch from the
flames and carry.

11. And having left this spot, when the army had arrived at the district
called Maranx, near daybreak an immense multitude of Persians appeared,
with Merenes, the captain of their cavalry, and two sons of the king,
and many nobles.

12. All the troops were clothed in steel, in such a way that their
bodies were covered with strong plates, so that the hard joints of the
armour fitted every limb of their bodies; and on their heads were
effigies of human faces so accurately fitted, that their whole persons
being covered with metal, the only place where any missiles which fell
upon them could stick, was either where there were minute openings to
allow of the sight of the eyes penetrating, or where holes for breathing
were left at the extremities of the nostrils.

13. Part of them who were prepared to fight with pikes stood immovable,
so that you might have fancied they were held in their places by
fastenings of brass; and next to them the archers (in which art that
nation has always been most skilful from the cradle) bent their supple
bows with widely extended arms, so that the strings touched their right
breasts, while the arrows lay just upon their left hands; and the
whistling arrows flew, let loose with great skill of finger, bearing
deadly wounds.

14. Behind them stood the glittering elephants in formidable array,
whose grim looks our terrified men could hardly endure; while the horses
were still more alarmed at their growl, odour, and unwonted aspect.

15. Their drivers rode on them, and bore knives with handles fastened to
their right hands, remembering the disaster which they had experienced
at Nisibis; and if the ferocious animal overpowered his overseer, they
pierced the spine where the head is joined to the neck with a vigorous
blow, that the beast might not recoil upon their own ranks, as had
happened on that occasion, and trample down their own people; for it was
found out by Hasdrubal, the brother of Hannibal, that in this way these
animals might be very easily deprived of life.

16. The sight of these beasts caused great alarm; and so this most
intrepid emperor, attended with a strong body of his armed cohorts and
many of his chief officers, as the crisis and the superior numbers of
the enemy required, marshalled his troops in the form of a crescent with
the wings bending inwards to encounter the enemy.

17. And to hinder the onset of the archers from disordering our columns,
by advancing with great speed he baffled the aim of their arrows; and
after he had given the formal signal for fighting, the Roman infantry,
in close order, beat back the front of the enemy with a vigorous effort.

18. The struggle was fierce, and the clashing of the shields, the din of
the men, and the doleful whistle of the javelins, which continued
without intermission, covered the plains with blood and corpses, the
Persians falling in every direction; and though they were often slack in
fighting, being accustomed chiefly to combat at a distance by means of
missiles, still now foot to foot they made a stout resistance; and when
they found any of their divisions giving way, they retreated like rain
before the wind, still with showers of arrows seeking to deter their
foes from pursuing them. So the Parthians were defeated by prodigious
efforts, till our soldiers, exhausted by the heat of the day, on the
signal for retreat being sounded, returned to their camp, encouraged
for the future to greater deeds of daring.

19. In this battle, as I have said, the loss of the Persians was very
great--ours was very slight. But the most important death in our ranks
was that of Vetranio, a gallant soldier who commanded the legion of


§ 1. After this there was an armistice for three days, while the men
attended to their own wounds or those of their friends, during which we
were destitute of supplies, and distressed by intolerable hunger; and
since, as all the corn and forage was burnt, both men and cattle were in
extreme danger of starvation, a portion of the food which the horses of
the tribunes and superior officers were carrying was distributed among
the lower classes of the soldiers, who were in extreme want.

2. And the emperor, who had no royal dainties prepared for himself, but
who was intending to sup under the props of a small tent on a scanty
portion of pulse, such as would often have been despised by a prosperous
common soldier, indifferent to his own comfort, distributed what was
prepared for him among the poorest of his comrades.

3. He gave a short time to anxious and troubled sleep; and when he
awoke, and, as was his custom, began to write something in his tent, in
imitation of Julius Cæsar, while the night was still dark, being
occupied with the consideration of the writings of some philosophers, he
saw, as he told his friends, in mournful guise, the vision of the Genius
of the Empire, whom, when he first became emperor, he had seen in Gaul,
sorrowfully departing through the curtains of his tent with the
cornucopia, which he bore in his hand veiled, as well as his head.

4. And although for a moment he stood stupefied, yet being above all
fear, he commended the future to the will of heaven; and leaving his
bed, which was made on the ground, he rose, while it was still but
little past midnight, and supplicating the deities with sacred rites to
avert misfortune, he thought he saw a bright torch, falling, cut a
passage through the air and vanish from his sight; and then he was
horror-stricken, fearing that the star of Mars had appeared openly
threatening him.

5. For this brightness was of the kind which we call [Greek:
diaissonta], not falling down or reaching the ground. Indeed, he who
thinks that solid substances can fall from heaven is rightly accounted
profane and mad. But these occurrences take place in many ways, of which
it will be enough to enumerate a few.

6. Some think that sparks falling off from the ethereal fire, as they
are able to proceed but a short distance, soon become extinguished; or,
perhaps, that rays of fire coming against the dense clouds, sparkle from
the suddenness of the contact; or that some light attaches itself to a
cloud, and taking the form of a star, runs on as long as it is supported
by the power of the fire; but being presently exhausted by the magnitude
of the space which it traverses, it becomes dissolved into air, passing
into that substance from the excessive attrition of which it originally
derived its heat.

7. Therefore, without loss of time, before daybreak, he sent for the
Etruscan soothsayers, and consulted them what this new kind of star
portended; who replied, that he must cautiously avoid attempting any new
enterprise at present, showing that it was laid down in the works of
Tarquitius,[153] "on divine affairs," that when a light of this kind is
seen in heaven, no battle ought to be engaged in, or any similar measure
be undertaken.

8. But as he despised this and many other similar warnings, the diviners
at least entreated him to delay his march for some hours; but they could
not prevail even to this extent, as the emperor was always opposed to
the whole science of divination. So at break of day the camp was struck.


§ 1. When we set forward, the Persians, who had learnt by their frequent
defeats to shun pitched battles, laid secret ambuscades on our road,
and, occupying the hills on each side, continually reconnoitred our
battalions as they marched, so that our soldiers, being kept all day on
the watch, could neither find time to erect ramparts round their camp,
or to fortify themselves with palisades.

2. And while our flanks were strongly guarded, and the army proceeded
onward in as good order as the nature of the ground would allow, being
formed in squares, though not quite closed up, suddenly news was brought
to the emperor, who had gone on unarmed to reconnoitre the ground in
front, that our rear was attacked.

3. He, roused to anger by this mishap, without stopping to put on his
breastplate, snatched up his shield in a hurry, and while hastening to
support his rear, was recalled by fresh news that the van which he had
quitted was now exposed to a similar attack.

4. Without a thought of personal danger, he now hastened to strengthen
this division, and then, on another side, a troop of Persian cuirassiers
attacked his centre, and pouring down with vehemence on his left wing,
which began to give way, as our men could hardly bear up against the
foul smell and horrid cries of the elephants, they pressed us hard with
spears and clouds of arrows.

5. The emperor flew to every part of the field where the danger was
hottest; and our light-armed troops dashing out wounded the backs of the
Persians, and the hocks of the animals, which were turned the other way.

6. Julian, disregarding all care for his own safety, made signs by
waving his hands, and shouted out that the enemy were fleeing in
consternation; and cheering on his men to the pursuit, threw himself
eagerly into the conflict. His guards called out to him from all sides
to beware of the mass of fugitives who were scattered in consternation,
as he would beware of the fall of an ill-built roof, when suddenly a
cavalry spear, grazing the skin of his arm, pierced his side, and fixed
itself in the bottom of his liver.

7. He tried to pull it out with his right hand, and cut the sinews of
his fingers with the double-edged point of the weapon; and, falling from
his horse, he was borne with speed by the men around him to his tent;
and the physician tried to relieve him.

8. Presently, when his pain was somewhat mitigated, so that his
apprehensions were relieved, contending against death with great
energy, he asked for arms and a horse in order that, by revisiting his
troops, who were still engaged, he might restore their confidence, and
appear so secure of his own recovery as to have room for anxiety for the
safety of others; with the same energy though with a different object,
with which the celebrated leader, Epaminondas, when he was mortally
wounded at Mantinea, and had been borne out of the battle, asked
anxiously for his shield; and when he saw it he died of his wound
cheerfully, having been in fear for the loss of his shield, while quite
fearless about the loss of his life.

9. But as Julian's strength was inferior to his firmness, and as he was
weakened by the loss of blood, he remained without moving: and presently
he gave up all hope of life; because, on inquiry, he found that the
place where he had fallen was called Phrygia; for he had been assured by
an oracle that he was destined to die in Phrygia.

10. When he was brought back to his tent, it was marvellous with what
eagerness the soldiers flew to avenge him, agitated with anger and
sorrow; and striking their spears against their shields, determined to
die if Fate so willed it. And although vast clouds of dust obscured
their sight, and the burning heat hindered the activity of their
movements, still, as if they were released from all military discipline
by the loss of their chief, they rushed unshrinkingly on the enemy's

11. On the other hand the Persians, fighting with increased spirit, shot
forth such clouds of arrows, that we could hardly see the shooters
through them; while the elephants, slowly marching in front, by the vast
size of their bodies, and the formidable appearance of their crests,
terrified alike our horses and our men.

12. And far off was heard the clashing of armed men, the groans of the
dying, the snorting of the horses, and the clang of swords, till both
sides were weary of inflicting wounds, and the darkness of night put an
end to the contest.

13. Fifty nobles and satraps of the Persians, with a vast number of the
common soldiers, were slain; and among them, two of their principal
generals, Merena and Nohodares. Let the grandiloquence of antiquity
marvel at the twenty battles fought by Marcellus in different places;
let it add Sicinius Dentatus, adorned with his mass of military crowns;
let it further extol Sergius, who is said to have received twenty-three
wounds in his different battles, among whose posterity was that last
Catiline, who tarnished the glories of his distinguished family by
everlasting infamy.

14. But sorrow now overpowered the joy at this success. While the
conflict was thus carried on after the withdrawal of the emperor, the
right wing of the army was exhausted by its exertions; and Anatolius, at
that time the master of the offices, was killed; Sallust the prefect was
in imminent danger, and was saved only by the exertions of his
attendant, so that at last he escaped, while Sophorius his counsellor
was killed; and certain soldiers, who, after great danger, had thrown
themselves into a neighbouring fort, were unable to rejoin the main army
till three days afterwards.

15. And while these events were taking place, Julian, lying in his tent,
thus addressed those who stood around him sorrowing and mourning: "The
seasonable moment for my surrendering this life, O comrades, has now
arrived, and, like an honest debtor, I exult in preparing to restore
what nature reclaims; not in affliction and sorrow, since I have learnt,
from the general teaching of philosophers, how much more capable of
happiness the mind is than the body; and considering that when the
better part is separated from the worse, it is a subject of joy rather
than of mourning. Reflecting, also, that there have been instances in
which even the gods have given to some persons of extreme piety, death
as the best of all rewards.

16. "And I well know that it is intended as a gift of kindness to me, to
save me from yielding to arduous difficulties, and from forgetting or
losing myself; knowing by experience that all sorrows, while they
triumph over the weak, flee before those who endure them manfully.

17. "Nor have I to repent of any actions; nor am I oppressed by the
recollection of any grave crime, either when I was kept in the shade,
and, as it were, in a corner, or after I arrived at the empire, which,
as an honour conferred on me by the gods, I have preserved, as I
believe, unstained. In civil affairs I have ruled with moderation and,
whether carrying on offensive or defensive war, have always been under
the influence of deliberate reason; prosperity, however, does not always
correspond to the wisdom of man's counsels, since the powers above
reserve to themselves the regulation of results.

18. "But always keeping in mind that the aim of a just sovereign is the
advantage and safety of his subjects, I have been always, as you know,
inclined to peace, eradicating all licentiousness--that great
corruptress of things and manners--by every part of my own conduct; and
I am glad to feel that in whatever instances the republic, like an
imperious mother, has exposed me deliberately to danger, I have stood
firm, inured to brave all fortuitous disturbing events.

19. "Nor am I ashamed to confess that I have long known, from prophecy,
that I should fall by the sword. And therefore do I venerate the
everlasting God that I now die, not by any secret treachery, nor by a
long or severe disease, or like a condemned criminal, but I quit the
world with honour, fairly earned, in the midst of a career of nourishing
glory. For, to any impartial judge, that man is base and cowardly who
seeks to die when he ought not, or who avoids death when it is
seasonable for him.

20. "This is enough for me to say, since my strength is failing me; but
I designedly forbear to speak of creating a new emperor, lest I should
unintentionally pass over some worthy man; or, on the other hand, if I
should name one whom I think proper, I should expose him to danger in
the event of some one else being preferred. But, as an honest child of
the republic, I hope that a good sovereign will be found to succeed me."

21. After having spoken quietly to this effect, he, as it were with the
last effort of his pen, distributed his private property among his
dearest friends, asking for Anatolius, the master of the offices. And
when the prefect Sallust replied that he was now happy, he understood
that he was slain, and bitterly bewailed the death of his friend, though
he had so proudly disregarded his own.

22. And as all around were weeping, he reproved them with still
undiminished authority, saying that it was a humiliating thing to mourn
for an emperor who was just united to heaven and the stars.

23. And as they then became silent, he entered into an intricate
discussion with the philosophers Maximus and Priscus on the sublime
nature of the soul, while the wound of his pierced side was gaping wide.
At last the swelling of his veins began to choke his breath, and having
drank some cold water, which he had asked for, he expired quietly about
midnight, in the thirty-first year of his age. He was born at
Constantinople, and in his childhood lost his father, Constantius, who,
after the death of his brother Constantine, perished amid the crowd of
competitors for the vacant crown. And at the same early age he lost his
mother, Basilina, a woman descended from a long line of noble ancestors.


§ 1. Julian was a man to be classed with heroic characters, and
conspicuous for the brilliancy of his exploits and his innate majesty.
For since, as wise men lay it down, there are four cardinal
virtues,--temperance, prudence, justice, and fortitude,--with
corresponding external accessaries, such as military skill, authority,
prosperity, and liberality, he eagerly cultivated them all as if they
had been but one.

2. And in the first place, he was of a chastity so inviolate that, after
the loss of his wife he never indulged in any sexual pleasures,
recollecting what is told in Plato of Sophocles the tragedian, that
being asked when he was a very old man whether he still had any commerce
with women, he said "No," with this further addition, that "he was glad
to say that he had at all times avoided such indulgence as a tyrannous
and cruel master."

3. And to strengthen this resolution he often called to mind the words
of the lyric poet Bacchylides, whom he used to read with pleasure, and
who said that as a fine painter makes a handsome face, so chastity
adorns a life that aims at greatness. And even when in the prime of life
he so carefully avoided this taint that there was never the least
suspicion of his becoming enamoured even of any of his household, as has
often happened.

4. And this kind of temperance increased in him, being strengthened by a
sparing indulgence in eating and sleeping, to which he rigidly adhered
whether abroad or at home. For in time of peace his frugal allowance of
food was a marvel to all who knew him, as resembling that of a man
always wishing to resume the philosopher's cloak. And in his various
campaigns he used commonly only to take a little plain food while
standing, as is the custom of soldiers.

5. And when after being fatigued by labour he had refreshed his body
with a short rest, as soon as he awoke he would go by himself round all
the sentries and outposts; after which he retired to his serious

6. And if any voice could bear witness to his use of the nocturnal lamp,
by which he pursued his lucubrations, it would show that there was a
vast difference between some emperors and him, who did not even indulge
himself in those pleasures permitted by the necessities of human nature.

7. Of his prudence there were also many proofs, of which it will be
sufficient to recount a few. He was profoundly skilled in war, and also
in the arts of peace. He was very attentive to courtesy, claiming just
so much respect as he considered sufficient to mark the difference
between contempt and insolence. He was older in virtue than in years,
being eager to acquire all kinds of knowledge. He was a most
incorruptible judge, a rigid censor of morals and manners, mild, a
despiser of riches, and indeed of all mortal things. Lastly, it was a
common saying of his, "That it was beneath a wise man, since he had a
soul, to aim at acquiring praise by his body."

8. Of his justice there are many conspicuous proofs: first, because,
with all proper regard to circumstances and persons, he inspired awe
without being cruel; secondly, because he repressed vice by making
examples of a few, and also because he threatened severe punishment more
frequently than he employed it.

9. Lastly, to pass over many circumstances, it is certain that he
treated with extreme moderation some who were openly convicted of
plotting against him, and mitigated the rigour of the punishment to
which they were sentenced with genuine humanity.

10. His many battles and constant wars displayed his fortitude, as did
his endurance of extreme cold and heat. From a common soldier we
require the services of the body, from an emperor those of the mind. But
having boldly thrown himself into battle, he would slay a ferocious foe
at a single blow; and more than once he by himself checked the retreat
of our men at his own personal risk. And when he was putting down the
rule of the furious Germans, and also in the scorching sands of Persia,
he encouraged his men by fighting in the front ranks of his army.

11. Many well-known facts attest his skill in all that concerns a camp;
his storming of cities and castles amid the most formidable dangers; the
variety of his tactics for battles, the skill he showed in choosing
healthy spots for his camps, the safe principles on which his lines of
defence and outposts were managed.

12. So great was his authority, that while he was feared he was also
greatly loved as his men's comrade in their perils and dangers. And in
the hottest struggles he took notice of cowards for punishment. And
while he was yet only Cæsar, he kept his soldiers in order while
confronting the barbarians, and destitute of pay as I have mentioned
before. And haranguing his discontented troops, the threat which he used
was that he would retire into private life if they continued mutinous.

13. Lastly, this single instance will do as well as many, by haranguing
the Gallic legions, who were accustomed to the frozen Rhine, in a simple
address, he persuaded them to traverse vast regions and to march through
the warm plains of Assyria to the borders of Media.

14. His good fortune was so conspicuous that, riding as it were on the
shoulders of Fortune, who was long his faithful guide, he overcame
enormous difficulties in his victorious career. And after he quitted the
regions of the west, they all remained quiet during his life-time, as if
under the influence of a wand powerful enough to tranquillize the world.

15. Of his liberality there are many and undoubted proofs. Among which
are his light exactions of tribute, his remission of the tribute of
crowns, and of debts long due, his putting the rights of individuals on
an equal footing with those of the treasury, his restoration of their
revenues and their lands to different cities, with the exception of such
as had been lawfully sold by former princes; and also the fact that he
was never covetous of money, which he thought was better kept by its
owners, often quoting the saying, "that Alexander the Great, when he was
asked where he kept his treasures, kindly answered 'Among my friends.'"

16. Having discussed those of his good qualities which have come within
our knowledge, let us now proceed to unfold his faults, though they have
been already slightly noticed. He was of an unsteady disposition; but
this fault he corrected by an excellent plan, allowing people to set him
right when guilty of indiscretion.

17. He was a frequent talker, rarely silent. Too much devoted to
divination, so much so as in this particular to equal the emperor
Adrian. He was rather a superstitious than a legitimate observer of
sacred rites, sacrificing countless numbers of victims; so that it was
reckoned that if he had returned from the Parthians there would have
been a scarcity of cattle. Like the celebrated case of Marcus
Cæsar,[154] about whom it was written, as it is said, "The white cattle
to Marcus Cæsar, greeting. If you conquer there is an end of us."

18. He was very fond of the applause of the common people, and an
immoderate seeker after praise even in the most trifling matters; often,
from a desire of popularity, indulging in conversation with unworthy

19. But in spite of all this he deserved, as he used to say himself, to
have it thought that that ancient Justice, whom Aratus says fled to
heaven from disgust with the vices of men, had in his reign returned
again to the earth; only that sometimes he acted arbitrarily and

20. For he made some laws which, with but few exceptions, were not
offensive, though they very positively enforced or forbade certain
actions. Among the exceptions was that cruel one which forbade Christian
masters of rhetoric and grammar to teach unless they came over to the
worship of the heathen gods.

21. And this other ordinance was equally intolerable, namely one which
allowed some persons to be unjustly enrolled in the companies of the
municipal guilds, though they were foreigners, or by privilege or birth
wholly unconnected with such companies.

22. As to his personal appearance it was this. He was of moderate
stature, with soft hair, as if he had carefully dressed it, with a rough
beard ending in a point, with beautiful brilliant eyes, which displayed
the subtlety of his mind, with handsome eyebrows and a straight nose, a
rather large mouth, with a drooping lower lip, a thick and stooping
neck, large and broad shoulders. From head to foot he was straight and
well proportioned, which made him strong and a good runner.

23. And since his detractors have accused him of provoking new wars, to
the injury of the commonwealth, let them know the unquestionable truth,
that it was not Julian but Constantius who occasioned the hostility of
the Parthians by greedily acquiescing in the falsehoods of Metrodorus,
as we have already set forth.

24. In consequence of this conduct our armies were slain, numbers of our
soldiers were taken prisoners, cities were rased, fortresses were
stormed and destroyed, provinces were exhausted by heavy expenses, and
in short the Persians, putting their threats into effect, were led to
seek to become masters of everything up to Bithynia and the shores of
the Propontis.

25. While the Gallic wars grew more and more violent, the Germans
overrunning our territories, and being on the point of forcing the
passes of the Alps in order to invade Italy, there was nothing to be
seen but tears and consternation, the recollection of the past being
bitter, the expectation of the future still more woeful. All these
miseries, this youth, being sent into the West with the rank of Cæsar,
put an end to with marvellous celerity, treating the kings of those
countries as base-born slaves.

26. Then in order to re-establish the prosperity of the east, with
similar energy he attacked the Persians, and would have gained in that
country both a triumph and a surname, if the will of heaven had been in
accordance with his glorious plans and actions.

27. And as we know by experience that some men are so rash and hasty
that if conquered they return to battle, if shipwrecked, to the sea, in
short, each to the difficulties by which he has been frequently
overcome, so some find fault with this emperor for returning to similar
exploits after having been repeatedly victorious.


§ 1. After these events there was no time for lamentation or weeping.
For after he had been laid out as well as the circumstances and time
permitted, that he might be buried where he himself had formerly
proposed, at daybreak the next morning, which was on the 27th of June,
while the enemy surrounded us on every side, the generals of the army
assembled, and having convened the chief officers of the cavalry and of
the legions, deliberated about the election of an emperor.

2. There were great and noisy divisions. Arinthæus and Victor, and the
rest of those who had been attached to the court of Constantius, sought
for a fit man of their own party. On the other hand, Nevitta and
Dagalaiphus, and the nobles of the Gauls, sought for a man among their
own ranks.

3. While the matter was thus in dispute, they all unanimously agreed
upon Sallustius. And when he pleaded ill health and old age, one of the
soldiers of rank observing his real and fixed reluctance said, "And what
would you do if the emperor while absent himself, as has often happened,
had intrusted you with the conduct of this war? Would you not have
postponed all other considerations and applied yourself to extricating
the soldiers at once from the difficulties which press on them? Do so
now: and then, if we are allowed to reach Mesopotamia, it will be time
enough for the united suffrages of both armies to declare a lawful

4. Amid these little delays in so important a matter, before opinions
were justly weighed, a few made an uproar, as often happens in critical
circumstances, and Jovian was elected emperor, being the chief officer
of the guards, and a man of fair reputation in respect of his father's
services. For he was the son of Varronianus, a distinguished count,[155]
who had not long since retired from military service to lead a private

5. And immediately he was clothed in the imperial robes, and was
suddenly led forth out of the tent and passed at a quick pace through
the army as it was preparing to march.

6. And as the line extended four miles, those in the van hearing some
persons salute Jovian as Augustus, raised the same cry still more
loudly, for they were caught by the relationship, so to say, of the
name, which differed only by one letter from that of Julian, and so they
thought that Julian was recovered and was being led forth with great
acclamations as had often been the case. But when the new emperor, who
was both taller and less upright, was seen, they suspected what had
happened, and gave vent to tears and lamentations.

7. And if any lover of justice should find fault with what was done at
this extreme crisis as imprudent, he might still more justly blame
sailors who, having lost a skilful pilot when both winds and waves are
agitated by a storm, commit the helm of their vessel to some one of
their comrades.

8. This affair having been thus settled by a blind sort of decision of
Fortune, the standard-bearer of the Jovian legion, which Varronianus had
formerly commanded, having had a quarrel with the new emperor while he
was a private individual, because he had been a violent disparager of
his father, now fearing danger at his hand, since he had risen to a
height exceeding any ordinary fortune, fled to the Persians. And having
been allowed to tell what he knew, he informed Sapor, who was at hand,
that the prince whom he dreaded was dead, and that Jovian, who had
hitherto been only an officer of the guards, a man of neither energy nor
courage, had been raised by a mob of camp drudges to a kind of shadow of
the imperial authority.

9. Sapor hearing this news, which he had always anxiously prayed for,
and being elated by this unexpected good fortune, having reinforced the
troops who had fought against us with a strong body of the royal
cavalry, sent them forward with speed to attack the rear of our army.


§ 1. And while these arrangements were being made, the victims and
entrails were inspected on behalf of Jovian, and it was pronounced that
he would ruin everything if he remained in the camp, as he proposed,
but that if he quitted it he would have the advantage.

2. And just as we were beginning our march, the Persians attacked us,
preceded by their elephants. Both our horses and men were at first
disordered by their roaring and formidable onset; but the Jovian and
Herculean legions slew a few of the monsters, and made a gallant
resistance to the mounted cuirassiers.

3. Then the legions of the Jovii and Victores coming up to aid their
comrades, who were in distress, also slew two elephants and a great
number of the enemy's troops. And on our left wing three most gallant
men were slain, Julian, Macrobius, and Maximus, all tribunes of the
legions which were then the chief of the whole army.

4. When they were buried as well as circumstances permitted, as night
was drawing on, and as we were pressing forward with all speed towards a
fort called Sumere, the dead body of Anatolius was recognized and buried
with a hurried funeral. Here also we were rejoined by sixty soldiers and
a party of the guards of the palace, whom we have mentioned as having
taken refuge in a fort called Vaccatum.

5. Then on the following day we pitched our camp in a valley in as
favourable a spot as the nature of the ground permitted, surrounding it
with a rampart like a wall, with sharp stakes fixed all round like so
many swords, with the exception of one wide entrance.

6. And when the enemy saw this they attacked us with all kinds of
missiles from their thickets, reproaching us also as traitors and
murderers of an excellent prince. For they had heard by the vague report
of some deserters that Julian had fallen by the weapon of a Roman.

7. And presently, while this was going on, a body of cavalry ventured to
force their way in by the Prætorian gate, and to advance almost up to
the emperor's tent. But they were vigorously repulsed with the loss of
many of their men killed and wounded.

8. Quitting this camp, the next night we reached a place called Charcha,
where we were safe, because the artificial mounds of the river had been
broken to prevent the Saracens from overrunning Armenia, so that no one
was able to harass our lines as they had done before.

9. Then on the 1st of July we marched thirty furlongs more, and came to
a city called Dura, where our baggage-horses were so jaded, that their
drivers, being mostly recruits, marched on foot till they were hemmed in
by a troop of Saracens; and they would all have been killed if some
squadrons of our light cavalry had not gone to their assistance in their

10. We were exposed to the hostility of these Saracens because Julian
had forbidden that the presents and gratuities, to which they had been
accustomed, should be given to them; and when they complained to him,
they were only told that a warlike and vigilant emperor had iron, not

11. Here, owing to the obstinate hostility of the Persians, we lost four
days. For when we advanced they followed us, compelling us to retrace
our steps by their incessant attacks. When we halted gradually to fight,
they retired, tormenting us by their long delay. And now (for when men
are in great fear even falsehoods please them) a report being spread
that we were at no great distance from our own frontier, the army raised
an impatient shout, and demanded to be at once led across the Tigris.

12. But the emperor and his officers opposed this demand, and showed
them that the river, now just at the time of the rising of the Dogstar,
was much flooded, entreated them not to trust themselves to its
dangerous currents, reminding them that most of them could not swim, and
adding likewise that the enemy had occupied the banks of the river,
swoln as it was at many parts.

13. But when the demand was repeated over and over again in the camp,
and the soldiers with shouts and great eagerness began to threaten
violence, the order was given very unwillingly that the Gauls, mingled
with the northern Germans, should lead the way into the river, in order
that if they were carried away by the violence of the stream the
obstinacy of the rest might be shaken; or on the other hand, if they
accomplished the passage in safety the rest might attempt it with more

14. And men were selected suited to such an enterprise, who from their
childhood had been accustomed in their native land to cross the greatest
rivers. And when the darkness of night presented an opportunity for
making the attempt unperceived, as if they had just escaped from a
prison, they reached the opposite bank sooner than could have been
expected; and having beaten down and slain numbers of the Persians whom,
though they had been placed there to guard the passage, their fancied
security had lulled into a gentle slumber, they held up their hands, and
shook their cloaks so as to give the concerted signal that their bold
attempt had succeeded.

15. And when the signal was seen, the soldiers became eager to cross,
and could only be restrained by the promise of the engineers to make
them bridges by means of bladders and the hides of slaughtered animals.


§ 1. While these vain attempts were going on, king Sapor, both while at
a distance, and also when he approached, received from his scouts and
from our deserters a true account of the gallant exploits of our men, of
the disgraceful slaughter of his own troops, and also of his elephants
in greater numbers than he ever remembered to have lost before. And he
heard also that the Roman army, being hardened by its continual labours
since the death of its glorious chief, did not now think so much, as
they said, of safety as of revenge; and were resolved to extricate
themselves from their difficulties either by a complete victory or by a
glorious death.

2. He looked on this news as formidable, being aware by experience that
our troops who were scattered over these provinces could easily be
assembled, and knowing also that his own troops after their heavy losses
were in a state of the greatest alarm; he also heard that we had in
Mesopotamia an army little inferior in numbers to that before him.

3. And besides all this, his courage was damped by the fact of five
hundred men having crossed that swollen river by swimming in perfect
safety, and having slain his guards, and so emboldening the rest of
their comrades to similar hardihood.

4. In the mean time, as the violence of the stream prevented any bridges
from being constructed, and as everything which could be eaten was
consumed, we passed two days in great misery, and the starving soldiers
began to be furious with rage, thinking it better to perish by the sword
than by hunger, that most degrading death.

5. But the eternal providence of God was on our side, and beyond our
hopes the Persians made the first overtures, sending the Surena and
another noble as ambassadors to treat for peace, and they themselves
being in a state of despondency, as the Romans, having proved superior
in almost every battle, weakened them daily.

6. But the conditions which they proposed were difficult and intricate,
since they pretended that, out of regard for humanity, their merciful
monarch was willing to permit the remains of our army to return home,
provided the Cæsar, with his officers, would satisfy his demands.

7. In reply, we sent as ambassadors on our part, Arinthæus and
Sallustius; and while the proper terms were being discussed with great
deliberation, we passed four more days in great suffering from want of
provisions, more painful than any kind of torture.

8. And in this truce, if before the ambassadors were sent, the emperor,
being disabused, had retired slowly from the territories of the enemy,
he would have reached the forts of Corduena, a rich region belonging to
us, only one hundred miles from the spot where these transactions were
being carried on.

9. But Sapor obstinately demanded (to use his own language) the
restoration of those territories which had been taken from him by
Maximian; but as was seen in the progress of the negotiation, he in
reality required, as the price of our redemption, five provinces on the
other side of the Tigris,--Arzanena, Moxoena, Zabdicena, Rehemena, and
Corduena, with fifteen fortresses, besides Nisibis, and Singara, and the
important fortress called the camp of the Moors.

10. And though it would have been better to fight ten battles than to
give up one of them, still a set of flatterers harassed our
pusillanimous emperor with harping on the dreaded name of Procopius, and
affirmed that unless we quickly recrossed the river, that chieftain, as
soon as he heard of the death of Julian, would easily bring about a
revolution which no one could resist, by means of the fresh troops which
he had under his command.

11. Jovian, being wrought upon by the constant reiteration of these
evil counsels, without further delay gave up everything that was
demanded, with this abatement, which he obtained with difficulty, that
the inhabitants of Nisibis and Singara should not be given up to the
Persians as well as the cities themselves; and that the Roman garrisons
in the forts about to be surrendered should be permitted to retire to
fortresses of our own.

12. To which another mischievous and unfair condition was added, that
after this treaty was concluded we were not to be at liberty to assist
Arsaces against the Persians, if he implored our aid, though he had
always been our friend and trusty ally. And this was insisted on by
Sapor for two reasons, in order that the man might be punished who had
laid waste Chiliocomum at the emperor's command, and also that facility
might be given for invading Armenia without a check. In consequence of
this it fell out subsequently that Arsaces was taken prisoner, and that,
amid different dissensions and disturbances, the Parthians laid violent
hands on the greater portion of Armenia, where it borders on Media, and
on the town of Artaxata.

13. This ignoble treaty being made, that nothing might be done during
the armistice, in contravention of its terms, some men of rank were
given as hostages on each side: on ours, Remora, Victor, and
Bellovædius, tribunes of distinguished legions: and on that of the
enemy, one of their chief nobles named Bineses, and three other satraps
of note.

14. So peace was made for thirty years, and ratified by solemn oaths;
and we, returning by another line of march, because the parts near the
river were rugged and difficult, suffered severely for want of water and


§ 1. The peace which had been granted on pretence of humanity was turned
to the ruin of many who were so exhausted by want of food as to be at
the last gasp, and who in consequence could only creep along, and were
either carried away by the current of the river from not being able to
swim, or if able to overcome the force of the stream so far as to reach
the bank, were either slain like sheep by the Saracens or Persians
(because, as we stated some time back, the Germans had driven them out),
or sent to a distance to be sold for slaves.

2. But when the trumpets openly gave the signal for crossing the river,
it was dreadful to see with what ardour every individual hastened to
rush into this danger, preferring himself to all his comrades, in the
desire of avoiding the many dangers and distresses behind him. Some
tried to guide the beasts who were swimming about at random, with
hurdles hurriedly put together; others, seated on bladders, and others,
being driven by necessity to all kinds of expedients, sought to pass
through the opposing waves by crossing them obliquely.

3. The emperor himself with a few others crossed over in the small
boats, which we said were saved when the fleet was burnt, and then sent
the same vessels backwards and forwards till our whole body was brought
across. And at length all of us, except such as were drowned, reached
the opposite bank of the river, being saved amid our difficulties by the
favour of the Supreme Deity.

4. While we were still oppressed with the fear of impending disasters,
we learnt from information brought in by our outposts that the Persians
were throwing a bridge over the river some way off, at a point out of
our sight, in order that while all ideas of war were put an end to on
our side by the ratification of the treaty of peace, they might come
upon our invalids as they proceeded carelessly onwards, and on the
animals exhausted with fatigue. But when they found their purpose
discovered, they relinquished their base design.

5. Being now relieved from this suspicion, we hastened on by rapid
marches, and approached Hatra, an ancient town in the middle of a
desert, which had been long since abandoned, though at different times
those warlike emperors, Trajan and Severus, had attacked it with a view
to its destruction, but had been almost destroyed with their armies, as
we have related in our history of their exploits.

6. And as we now learnt that over the vast plain before us for seventy
miles in that arid region no water could be found but such as was
brackish and fetid, and no kind of food but southernwood, wormwood,
dracontium, and other bitter herbs, we filled the vessels which we had
with sweet water, and having slain the camels and the rest of the beasts
of burden, we thus sought to insure some kind of supplies, though not
very wholesome.

7. For six days the army marched, till at last even grass, the last
comfort of extreme necessity, could not be found; when Cassianus, Duke
of Mesopotamia, and the tribune Mauricius, who had been sent forward
with this object, came to a fort called Ur, and brought some food from
the supplies which the army under Procopius and Sebastian, by living
sparingly, had managed to preserve.

8. From this place another person of the name of Procopius, a secretary,
and Memoridus, a military tribune, was sent forward to Illyricum and
Gaul to announce the death of Julian, and the subsequent promotion of
Jovian to the rank of emperor.

9. And Jovian deputed them to present his father-in-law Lucillianus
(who, after giving up military service, had retired to the tranquillity
of private life, and who was at that time dwelling at Sirmium) with a
commission as captain of the forces of cavalry and infantry, and to urge
him at the same time to hasten to Milan, to support him there in any
difficulties which might arise, or (what he feared most) to oppose any
attempts which might be made to bring about a revolution.

10. And he also gave them still more secret letters, in which he warned
Lucillianus to bring him some picked men of tried energy and fidelity,
of whose aid he might avail himself according as affairs should turn

11. He also made a wise choice, and selected Malarichus, who was at that
time in Italy on his own private affairs, sending him the ensigns of
office that he might succeed Jovinus as commander of the forces in Gaul,
in which appointment he had an eye on two important objects; first, to
remove a general of especial merit who was an object of suspicion on
that very account, and also by the promotion to so high a position of a
man whose hopes were not set on anything so lofty to bind him to exert
all his zeal in supporting the doubtful position of the maker of his

12. And the officers who went to perform these commands were also
enjoined to extol the emperor's conduct, and wherever they went to agree
in reporting that the Parthian campaign had been brought to an
honourable termination; they were also charged to prosecute their
journey with all speed by night and day, delivering as they went letters
from the new emperor to all the governors of provinces and commanders of
the forces on their road; and when they had secretly learnt the opinions
of them all, to return to him with all speed, in order that when he knew
what was being done in the distant provinces, he might be able to frame
well-digested and wise plans for strengthening himself in his

13. But Fame (being alway the most rapid bearer of bad news),
outstripping these couriers, flew through the different provinces and
nations; and above all others struck the citizens of Nisibis with bitter
sorrow when they heard that their city was surrendered to Sapor, whose
anger and enmity they dreaded, from recollecting the havoc and slaughter
which he had made in his frequent attempts to take the place.

14. For it was clear that the whole eastern empire would have fallen
under the power of Persia long before if it had not been for the
resistance which this city, strong in its admirable position and its
mighty walls, had been able to offer. But miserable as they now were,
and although they were filled with a still greater fear of what might
befall them hereafter, they were supported by this slender hope, that,
either from his own inclination or from being won over by their prayers,
the emperor might consent to keep their city in its existing state, as
the strongest bulwark of the east.

15. While different reports were flying about of what had taken place,
the scanty supplies which I have spoken of as having been brought, were
consumed, and necessity might have driven the men to eat one another, if
the flesh of the animals slain had not lasted them a little longer; but
the consequence of our destitute condition was, that the arms and
baggage were thrown away; for we were so worn out with this terrible
famine, that whenever a single bushel of corn was found (which seldom
happened), it was sold for ten pieces of gold at the least.

16. Marching on from thence, we come to Thilsaphata where Sebastian and
Procopius, with the tribunes and chief officers of the legions which had
been placed under their command for the protection of Mesopotamia, came
to meet the emperor as the solemn occasion required, and being kindly
received, accompanied us on our march.

17. After this, proceeding with all possible speed, we rejoiced when we
saw Nisibis, where the emperor pitched a standing camp outside the
walls; and being most earnestly entreated by the whole population to
come to lodge in the palace according to the custom of his predecessors,
he positively refused, being ashamed that an impregnable city should be
surrendered to an enraged enemy while he was within its walls.

18. But as the evening was getting dark, Jovian, the chief secretary,
was seized while at supper, the man who at the siege of the city
Maogamalcha we have spoken of as escaping with others by a subterranean
passage, and being led to an out-of-the-way place, was thrown headlong
down a dry well, and overwhelmed with a heap of stones which were thrown
down upon him, because after the death of Julian he also had been named
by a few persons as fit to be made emperor; and after the election of
his namesake had not behaved with any modesty, but had been heard to
utter secret whispers concerning the business, and had from time to time
invited some of the leading soldiers to entertainments.


§ 1. The next day Bineses, one of the Persians of whom we have spoken as
the most distinguished among them, hastening to execute the commission
of his king, demanded from Jovian the immediate performance of his
promise; and by his permission he entered the city of Nisibis, and
raised the standard of his nation on the citadel, announcing to the
citizens a miserable emigration from their native place.

2. Immediately they were all commanded to expatriate themselves, in vain
stretching forth their hands in entreaty not to be compelled to depart,
affirming that they by themselves, without drawing on the public
resources for either provisions or soldiers, were sufficient to defend
their own home in full confidence that Justice would be on their side
while fighting for the place of their birth, as they had often found her
to be before. Both nobles and common people joined in this supplication;
but they spoke in vain as to the winds, the emperor fearing the crime of
perjury, as he pretended, though in reality the object of his fear was
very different.

3. Then a man of the name of Sabinus, eminent among his fellow-citizens
both for his fortune and birth, replied with great fluency that
Constantius too was at one time defeated by the Persians in the terrible
strife of fierce war, that afterwards he fled with a small body of
comrades to the unguarded station of Hibita, where he lived on a scanty
and uncertain supply of bread which was brought him by an old woman from
the country; and yet that to the end of his life he lost no territory;
while Jovian, at the very beginning of his reign, was yielding up the
wall of his provinces, by the protection of which barrier they had
hitherto remained safe from the earliest ages.

4. But as he could not prevail on the emperor, who persisted obstinately
in alleging the obligation of his oath, presently, when Jovian, who had
for some time refused the crown which was offered to him, accepted it
under a show of compulsion, an advocate, named Silvanus, exclaimed
boldly, "May you, O emperor, be so crowned in the rest of your cities."
But Jovian was offended at his words, and ordered the whole body of
citizens to quit the city within three days, in despair as they were at
the existing state of affairs.

5. Accordingly, men were appointed to compel obedience to this order,
with threats of death to every one who delayed his departure; and the
whole city was a scene of mourning and lamentation, and in every quarter
nothing was heard but one universal wail, matrons tearing their hair
when about to be driven from their homes, in which they had been born
and brought up, the mother who had lost her children, or the wife her
husband, about to be torn from the place rendered sacred by their
shades, clinging to their doorposts, embracing their thresholds, and
pouring forth floods of tears.

6. Every road was crowded, each person straggling away as he could.
Many, too, loaded themselves with as much of their property as they
thought they could carry, while leaving behind them abundant and costly
furniture, for this they could not remove for want of beasts of burden.

7. Thou in this place, O fortune of the Roman world, art justly an
object of accusation, who, while storms were agitating the republic,
didst strike the helm from the hand of a wise sovereign, to intrust it
to an inexperienced youth, whom, as he was not previously known for any
remarkable actions in his previous life, it is not fair either to blame
or praise.

8. But it sunk into the heart of all good citizens, that while, out of
fear of a rival claimant of his power, and constantly fancying some one
in Gaul or in Illyricum might have formed ambitious designs, he was
hastening to outstrip the intelligence of his approach, he should have
committed, under pretence of reverence for an oath, an act so unworthy
of his imperial power as to abandon Nisibis, which ever since the time
of Mithridates had been the chief hindrance to the encroachments of the
Persians in the East.

9. For never before since the foundation of Rome, if one consults all
its annals, I believe has any portion of our territories been
surrendered by emperor or consul to an enemy. Nor is there an instance
of a triumph having been celebrated for the recovery of anything that
had been lost, but only for the increase of our dominions.

10. On this principle, a triumph was refused to Publius Scipio for the
recovery of Spain, to Fulvius for the acquisition of Capua after a long
struggle, and to Opimius after many battles with various results,
because the people of Fregellæ, who at that time were our implacable
enemies, had been compelled to surrender.

11. For ancient records teach us that disgraceful treaties, made under
the pressure of extreme necessity, even after the parties to them have
sworn to their observance in set terms, have nevertheless been soon
dissolved by the renewal of war; as in the olden time, after the legions
had been made to pass under the yoke at the Caudine Forks, in Samnium;
and also when an infamous peace was contemplated by Albinus in Numidia;
and when Mancinus, the author of a peace which was concluded in
disgraceful haste, was surrendered to the people of Numantia.

12. Accordingly, when the citizens had been withdrawn, the city
surrendered, and the tribune Constantius had been sent to deliver up to
the Persian nobles the fortresses and districts agreed upon, Procopius
was sent forward with the remains of Julian, to bury them in the suburbs
of Tarsus, according to his directions while alive. He departed, I say,
to fulfil this commission, and as soon as the body was buried, he
quitted Tarsus, and though sought for with great diligence, he could not
be found anywhere, till long afterwards he was suddenly seen at
Constantinople invested with the purple.


§ 1. These transactions having been thus concluded, after a long march
we arrived at Antioch, where for several days in succession many
terrible omens were seen, as if the gods were offended, since those who
were skilled in the interpretation of prodigies foretold that impending
events would be melancholy.

2. For the statue of Maximian Cæsar, which was placed in the vestibule
of the palace, suddenly lost the brazen globe, formed after the figure
of the heavens, which it bore in its hand. Also the beams in the council
chamber sounded with an ominous creak; comets were seen in the daytime,
respecting the nature of which natural philosophers differ.

3. For some think they have received the name because they scatter fire
wreathed like hair[156] by a number of stars being collected into one
mass; others think that they derive their fire from the dry evaporation
of the earth rising gradually to a greater height; some fancy that the
sunbeams as they rapidly pass, being prevented by dense clouds from
descending lower, by infusing their brilliancy into a dense body show a
light which, as it were, seems spotted with stars to the eyes of
mortals. Some again have a fixed opinion that this kind of light is
visible when some cloud, rising to a greater height than usual, becomes
illuminated by its proximity to the eternal fires; or, that at all
events there are some stars like the rest, of which the special times of
their rising and setting are not understood by man. There are many
other suggestions about comets which have been put forth by men skilled
in mundane philosophy, but I must pass over them, as my subject calls me
in another direction.

4. The emperor remained a short time at Antioch, distracted by many
important cares, but desirous above all things to proceed. And so,
sparing neither man nor beast, he started from that city in the depth of
winter, though, as I have stated, many omens warned him from such a
course, and made his entrance into Tarsus, a noble city of Cilicia, the
origin of which I have already related.

5. Being in excessive haste to depart from thence, he ordered
decorations for the tomb of Julian, which was placed in the suburb, in
the road leading to the defiles of Mount Taurus. Though a sound judgment
would have decided that the ashes of such a prince ought not to lie
within sight of the Cydnus, however beautiful and clear that river is,
but, to perpetuate the glory of his achievements, ought rather to be
placed where they might be washed by the Tiber as it passes through the
Eternal City and winds round the monuments of the ancient gods.

6. Then quitting Tarsus, he reached by forced marches Tyana, a town of
Cappadocia, where Procopius the secretary and Memoridus the tribune met
him on their return, and related to him all that occurred; beginning, as
the order of events required, at the moment when Lucillianus (who had
entered Milan with the tribunes Seniauchus and Valentinian, whom he had
brought with him, as soon as it was known that Malarichus had refused to
accept the post which was offered to him) hastened on with all speed to

7. There, as if it had been a time of profound tranquillity, he went
quite beside the mark, as we say, and while things were still in a very
unsettled state, he most unseasonably devoted his attention to
scrutinizing the accounts of the commissary, who, being conscious of
fraud and guilt, fled to the standards of the soldiers, and pretended
that while Julian was still alive some one of the common people had
attempted a revolution. By this false report the army became so greatly
excited that they put Lucillianus and Seniauchus to death. For
Valentinian, who soon afterwards became emperor, had been concealed by
his host Primitivus in a safe place, overwhelmed with fear and not
knowing which way to flee.

8. This disastrous intelligence was accompanied by one piece of
favourable news,--that the soldiers who had been sent by Jovian were
approaching (men known in the camp as the heads of the classes), who
brought word that the Gallic army had cordially embraced the cause of

9. When this was known, the command of the second class of the Scutarii
was given to Valentinian, who had returned with those men; and
Vitalianus, who had been a soldier of the Heruli, was placed among the
body-guards, and afterwards, when raised to the rank of count, met with
very ill success in Illyricum. And at the same time Arinthæus was
despatched into Gaul with letters for Jovinus, with an injunction to
maintain his ground and act with resolution and constancy; and he was
further charged to make an example of the author of the disturbance
which had taken place, and to send the ringleaders of the sedition as
prisoners to the court.

10. When these matters had been arranged as seemed most expedient, the
Gallic soldiers obtained an audience of the emperor at Aspuna, a small
town of Galatia, and having been admitted into the council chamber,
after the message which they brought had been listened to with approval,
they received rewards and were ordered to return to their standards.

A.D. 364.

11. When the emperor had made his entry into Ancyra, everything
necessary for his procession having been prepared as well as the time
permitted, Jovian entered on the consulship, and took as his colleague
his son Varronianus, who was as yet quite a child, and whose cries as he
obstinately resisted being borne in the curule chair, according to the
ancient fashion, was an omen of what shortly happened.

12. Here also the appointed termination of life carried off Jovian with
rapidity. For when he had reached Dadastana, a place on the borders of
Bithynia and Galatia, he was found dead in the night; and many uncertain
reports were spread concerning his death.

13. It was said that he had been unable to bear the unwholesome smell
of the fresh mortar with which his bedchamber had been plastered. Also
that his head had swollen in consequence of a great fire of coals, and
that this had been the cause of his death; others said that he had died
of a surfeit from over eating. He was in the thirty-third year of his
age. And though he and Scipio Æmilianus both died in the same manner, we
have not found out that any investigation into the death of either ever
took place.

14. Jovian was slow in his movements, of a cheerful countenance, with
blue eyes; very tall, so much so that it was long before any of the
royal robes could be found to fit him. He was anxious to imitate
Constantius, often occupying himself with serious business till after
midday, and being fond of jesting with his friends in public.

15. He was given to the study of the Christian law, sometimes doing it
marked honour; he was tolerably learned in it, very well inclined to its
professors, and disposed to promote them to be judges, as was seen in
some of his appointments. He was fond of eating, addicted to wine and
women, though he would perhaps have corrected these propensities from a
sense of what was due to the imperial dignity.

16. It was said that his father, Varronianus, through the warning of a
dream, had long since foreseen what happened, and had foretold it to two
of his most faithful friends, with the addition that he himself also
should become consul. But though part of his prophecy became true, he
could not procure the fulfilment of the rest. For though he heard of his
son's high fortune, he died before he could see him.

17. And because the old man had it foretold to him in his sleep that the
highest office was destined for his name, his grandson Varronianus,
while still an infant, was made consul with his father Jovian, as we
have related above.

[151] Primicerius: he was the third officer of the guard; the first
being the lower; the second, the tribune--answering, as one might say,
to our major.

[152] The Zianni were an Armenian tribe. The legion belonged to the
Thracian establishment.

[153] Tarquitius was an ancient Etruscan soothsayer, who had written on
the subject of his art.

[154] That is Marcus Aurelius.

[155] It must be remembered that throughout Ammianus's history a count
is always spoken of as of higher rank than a duke.

[156] From κόμη, hair.



     I. Valentinian, the tribune of the second school of the Scutarii,
     by the unanimous consent of both the civil and military officers,
     is elected emperor at Nicæa, in his absence--A dissertation on
     leap-year.--II. Valentinian, being summoned from Ancyra, comes with
     speed to Nicæa, and is again unanimously elected emperor, and
     having been clothed in the purple, and saluted as Augustus,
     harangues the army.--III. Concerning the prefecture of Rome, as
     administered by Apronianus.--IV. Valentinian at Nicomedia makes
     Valens, his brother, who was master of the horse, his colleague in
     the empire, and repeats his appointment at Constantinople, with the
     consent of the army.--V. The two emperors divide the counts and the
     army between them, and soon afterwards enter on their first
     consulship, the one at Milan, the other at Constantinople--The
     Allemanni lay waste Gaul--Procopius attempts a revolt in the
     East.--VI. The country, family, habits, and rank of Procopius; his
     obscurity in the time of Jovian, and how he came to be saluted
     emperor at Constantinople.--VII. Procopius, without bloodshed,
     reduces Thrace to acknowledge his authority; and by promises
     prevails on the cavalry and infantry, who were marching through
     that country, to take the oath of fidelity to him; he also by a
     speech wins over the Jovian and Victorian legions, which were sent
     against him by Valens.--VIII. Nicæa and Chalcedon being delivered
     from their blockades, Bithynia acknowledges the sovereignty of
     Procopius; as presently, after Cyzicus is stormed, the Hellespont
     does likewise.--IX. Procopius is deserted by his troops in
     Bithynia, Lycia, and Phrygia, is delivered alive to Valens, and
     beheaded.--X. Marcellus, a captain of the guard, his kinsman, and
     many of his partisans are put to death.


A.D. 364.

§ 1. Having narrated with exceeding care the series of transactions in
my own immediate recollection, it is necessary now to quit the track of
notorious events, in order to avoid the dangers often found in
connection with truth; and also to avoid exposing ourselves to
unreasonable critics of our work, who would make an outcry as if they
had been personally injured, if anything should be passed over which the
emperor has said at dinner, if any cause should be overlooked for which
the common soldiers were assembled round their standards, or if there
were not inserted a mention of every insignificant fort, however little
such things ought to have room in a varied description of different
districts. Or if the name of every one who filled the office of urban
prætor be not given, and many other things quite impertinent to the
proper idea of a history, which duly touches on prominent occurrences,
and does not stoop to investigate petty details or secret motives, which
any one who wishes to know may as well hope to be able to count those
little indivisible bodies flying through space, which we call atoms.

2. Some of the ancients, fearing this kind of criticism, though they
composed accounts of various actions in a beautiful style, forbore to
publish them, as Tully, a witness of authority, mentions in a letter to
Cornelius Nepos. However, let us, despising the ignorance of people in
general, proceed with the remainder of our narrative.

3. The course of events being terminated so mournfully, by the death of
two emperors at such brief intervals, the army, having paid the last
honours to the dead body which was sent to Constantinople to be interred
among the other emperors, advanced towards Nicæa, which is the
metropolis of Bithynia, where the chief civil and military authorities
applied themselves to an anxious consideration of the state of affairs,
and as some of them were full of vain hopes, they sought for a ruler of
dignity and proved wisdom.

4. In reports, and the concealed whispers of a few persons, the name of
Equitius was ventilated, who was at that time tribune of the first class
of the Scutarii; but he was disapproved by the most influential leaders
as being rough and boorish; and their inclinations rather tended towards
Januarius, a kinsman of Julian, who was the chief commissary of the camp
in Illyricum.

5. However, he also was rejected because he was at a distance; and, as a
man well qualified and at hand, Valentinian was elected by the unanimous
consent of all men, and the manifest favour of the Deity. He was the
tribune of the second class of the Scutarii, and had been left at
Ancyra, it having been arranged that he should follow afterwards. And,
because no one denied that this was for the advantage of the republic,
messengers were sent to beg him to come with all speed; and for ten
days the empire was without a ruler, which the soothsayer Marcus, by an
inspection of entrails at Rome, announced to be the case at that moment
in Asia.

6. But in the meanwhile, to prevent any attempt to overturn what had
been thus settled, or any movement on the part of the fickle soldiers to
set aside the election in favour of some one on the spot, Equitius and
Leo, who was acting as commissary under Dagalaiphus the commander of the
cavalry, and who afterwards incurred great odium as master of the
offices,[157] strove with great prudence and vigilance to establish, to
the best of their power, what had been the decision of the whole army,
they being also natives of Pannonia, and partisans of the emperor elect.

7. When Valentinian arrived in answer to the summons he had received,
either in obedience to omens which guided him in the prosecution of the
affair, as was generally thought, or to repeated warnings conveyed in
dreams, he would not come into public or be seen by any one for two
days, because he wished to avoid the bissextile day of February which
came at that time, and which he knew to have been often an unfortunate
day for the Roman empire: of this day I will here give a plain

8. The ancients who were skilled in the motions of the world and the
stars, among whom the most eminent are Meton, Euctemon, Hipparchus, and
Archimedes, define it as the period of the revolving year when the sun,
in accordance with the laws which regulate the heavens, having gone
through the zodiac, in three hundred and sixty-five days and nights,
returns to the same point: as, for instance, when, after having moved on
from the second degree of the Ram, it returns again to it after having
completed its circuit.

9. But the exact period of a year extends over the number of days above
mentioned and six hours more. And so the correct commencement of the
next year will not begin till after midday and ends in the evening. The
third year begins at the first watch, and lasts till the sixth hour of
the night. The fourth begins at daybreak.

10. Now as the beginning of each year varies, one commencing at the
sixth hour of the day, another at the same hour of the night, to
prevent the calculation from throwing all science into confusion by its
perplexing diversity, and the months of autumn from sometimes being
found to come in the spring, it has been settled that those six hours
which in a period of four years amount to twenty-four shall be put
together so as to make one day and night.

11. And after much consideration it has been so arranged with the
concurrence of many learned men, that thus the revolutions of the year
may come to one regular end, removed from all vagueness and uncertainty,
so that the theory of the heavens may not be clouded by any error, and
that the months may retain their appointed position.

12. Before their dominions had reached any wide extent, the Romans were
for a long time ignorant of this fact, and having been for many years
involved in obscure difficulties, they were in deeper darkness and error
than ever, when they gave the priests the power of intercalating, which
they, in profligate subservience to the interests of the farmers of the
revenue, or people engaged in lawsuits, effected by making additions or
subtractions at their own pleasure.

13. And from this mode of proceeding many other expedients were adopted,
all of which were fallacious, and which I think it superfluous now to
enumerate. But when they were given up, Octavianus Augustus, in
imitation of the Greeks, corrected these disorderly arrangements and put
an end to these fluctuations, after great deliberation fixing the
duration of the year at twelve months and six hours, during which the
sun with its perpetual movement runs through the whole twelve signs, and
concludes the period of a whole year.

14. This rule of the bissextile year, Rome, which is destined to endure
to the end of time, established with the aid of the heavenly Deity. Now
let us return to our history.


§ 1. When this day, so little fit in the opinion of many for beginning
any great affair, had passed, at the approach of evening, by the advice
of the prefect Sallust, an order was issued by general consent, and with
the penalty of death attached to any neglect of it, that no one of
higher authority, or suspected of aiming at any objects of ambition,
should appear in public the next morning.

2. And when, while the numbers who allowed their own empty wishes to
torment them were weary of the slowness of time, the night ended at
last, and daylight appeared, the soldiers were all assembled in one
body, and Valentinian advanced into the open space, and mounting a
tribunal of some height which had been erected on purpose, he was
declared ruler of the empire as a man of due wisdom by this assembly,
bearing the likeness of a comitia, with the unanimous acclamations of
all present.

3. Presently he was clothed with the imperial robe, and crowned, and
saluted as Augustus with all the delight which the pleasure of this
novelty could engender; and then he began to harangue the multitude in a
premeditated speech. But as he put forth his arm to speak more freely, a
great murmur arose, the centuries and maniples beginning to raise an
uproar, and the whole mass of the cohorts presently urging that a second
emperor should be at once elected.

4. And though some people fancied that this cry was raised by a few
corrupt men in order to gain the favour of those who had been passed
over, it appeared that that was a mistake, for the cry that was raised
did not resemble a purchased clamour, but rather the unanimous voice of
the whole multitude all animated with the same wish, because recent
examples had taught them to fear the instability of this high fortune.
Presently the murmurs of the furious and uproarious army appeared likely
to give rise to a complete tumult, and men began to fear that the
audacity of the soldiers might break out into some atrocious act.

5. And as Valentinian feared this above everything, he raised his hand
firmly with the vigour of an emperor full of confidence, and venturing
to rebuke some as obstinate and seditious, he delivered the speech he
had intended without interruption.

6. "I exult, O ye gallant defenders of our provinces, and boast and
always shall boast that your valour has conferred on me, who neither
expected nor desired such an honour, the government of the Roman empire,
as the fittest man to discharge its duties. That which was in your
hands before an emperor was elected, you have completed beneficially and
gloriously, by raising to this summit of honour a man whom you know by
experience to have lived from his earliest youth to his present age with
honour and integrity. Now then I entreat you to listen with quietness to
a few plain observations which I think will be for the public advantage.

7. "So numerous are the matters for the consideration of an emperor,
that I neither deny nor even doubt that it is a desirable thing that he
should have a colleague of equal power to deal with every contingency.
And I myself, as a man, do also fear the great accumulation of cares
which must be mine, and the various changes of events. But still we must
use every exertion to insure concord, by which even the smallest affairs
give strength. And that is easily secured if, your patience concurring
with your equity, you willingly grant me what belongs to me in this
matter. For Fortune, the ally of all good counsels, will I trust aid me,
while to the very utmost of my ability and power, I diligently search
for a wise and temperate partner. For as wise men lay it down, not only
in the case of empire where the dangers are frequent and vast, but also
in matters of private and everyday life, a man ought rather to take a
stranger into his friendship after he has had opportunities of judging
him to be wise, than to ascertain his wisdom after he has made him his

8. "This, in hopes of a happier fortune, I promise. Do you, retaining
your steadiness of conduct and loyalty, recruit the vigour of your minds
and bodies while rest in your winter quarters allows you to do so. And
you shall soon receive what is your due on my nomination as emperor."

9. Having finished this speech, to which his unexpected authority gave
weight, the emperor by it brought all over to his opinion. And even
those who a few minutes before with loud voices demanded something
different, now, following his advice, surrounded him with the eagles and
standards, and, forming a splendid and formidable escort of all classes
and ranks of the army, conducted him to the palace.


§ 1. While the decisions of Fate were rapidly bringing these events to
pass in the East, Apronianus, the governor of Rome, an upright and
severe judge, among the grave cases by which that prefecture is
continually oppressed, was labouring with most particular solicitude to
suppress the magicians, who were now getting scarce, and who, having
been taken prisoners, had been, after being put to the question,
manifestly convicted by the evidence of their accomplices of having
injured some persons. These he put to death, hoping thus, by the
punishment of a few, to drive the rest, if any were still concealed, out
of the city through fear of similar treatment.

2. And he is said to have acted thus energetically because having been
promoted by Julian while he was still in Syria, he had lost one eye on
his journey to take possession of his office, and he suspected that this
was owing to his having been the object of some nefarious practices;
therefore with just but unusual indignation he exerted great industry in
searching out these and similar crimes. This made him appear cruel to
some persons, because the populace were continually pouring in crowds
into the amphitheatre while he was conducting the examination of some of
the greatest criminals.

3. At last, after many punishments of this kind had been inflicted, he
condemned to death the charioteer Hilarinus, who was convicted on his
own confession of having intrusted his son, who was but a very young
boy, to a sorcerer to be taught some secret mysteries forbidden by the
laws, in order that he might avail himself of unlawful assistance
without the privity of any one. But, as the executioner held him but
loosely he suddenly escaped and fled to a Christian altar, and had to be
dragged from it, when he was immediately beheaded.

4. But soon ample precautions were taken against the recurrence of this
and similar offences, and there were none or very few who ventured
afterwards to insult the rigour of the public law by practising these
iniquities. But at a later period long impunity nourished atrocious
crimes; and licentiousness increased to such a pitch that a certain
senator followed the example of Hilarinus, and was convicted of having
almost articled by a regular contract one of his slaves to a teacher of
the black art, to be instructed in his impious mysteries, though he
escaped punishment by an enormous bribe, as common report went.

5. And, as it was said, having thus procured an acquittal, though he
ought to have been ashamed even to have such an accusation, he took no
pains to efface the stain, but as if, among a lot of infamous persons,
he were the only one absolutely innocent, he used to ride on a
handsomely caparisoned horse through the streets, and is still always
attended by a troop of slaves, as if by a new and curious fashion he
were desirous to attract particular observation, just as Duilius in
ancient times after his glorious naval victory became so arrogant as to
cause a flute-player to precede him with soft airs when he returned to
his house after any dinner-party.

6. Under this same Apronianus all necessaries were so abundant in Rome
that not the slightest murmur because of any scarcity of supplies was
ever heard, which is very common at Rome.


§ 1. But in Bithynia, Valentinian, as we have already mentioned, having
been declared emperor, having fixed the next day but one for beginning
his march, assembled his chief officers, and, as if the course which he
preferred was to follow their advice, inquired whom they recommended him
to take for his colleague; and when no one made him any answer,
Dagalaiphus, who at that time was commander of the cavalry, boldly
answered "If, O excellent emperor, you love your own kindred, you have a
brother; if you love the republic, then seek the fittest man to invest."

2. Valentinian was offended with this speech, but kept silence, and
dissembled his displeasure and his intentions. And having made a rapid
journey he reached Nicomedia on the first of March, where he appointed
his brother Valens master of the horse with the rank of tribune.

3. And after that, when he reached Constantinople, revolving many
considerations in his mind, and considering that he himself was already
overwhelmed with the magnitude of pressing business, he thought that
the emergency would admit of no delay; and on the 28th of March he led
Valens into the suburbs, where, with the consent of all men (and indeed
no one dared to object), he declared him emperor, had him clothed in the
imperial robes, and crowned with a diadem, and then brought him back in
the same carriage with himself as the legitimate partner of his power,
though in fact he was to be more like an obedient servant, as the
remainder of my narrative will show.

4. After these matters had been thus settled without any interruption,
the two emperors suffered a long time from a violent fever; but when out
of danger (as they were more active in the investigation of evils than
in removing them) they intrusted the commission to investigate the
secret causes of this malady to Ursatius the master of the offices, a
fierce Dalmatian, and to Juventius Siscianus the quæstor, their real
motive, as was constantly reported, being to bring the memory of Julian
and that of his friends into odium, as if their illness had been owing
to their secret malpractices. But this insinuation was easily disposed
of, since not a word could be adduced to justify any imputation of such

5. At this time the trumpet as it were gave signal for war throughout
the whole Roman world; and the barbarian tribes on our frontier were
moved to make incursion on those territories which lay nearest to them.
The Allemanni laid waste Gaul and Rhætia at the same time. The
Sarmatians and Quadi ravaged Pannonia. The Picts, Scots, Saxons, and
Atacotti harassed the Britons with incessant invasions; the Austoriani
and other Moorish tribes attacked Africa with more than usual violence.
Predatory bands of the Goths plundered Thrace.

6. The king of the Persians poured troops into Armenia, exerting all his
power to reduce that people again into subjection to his authority;
without any just cause, arguing, that after the death of Julian, with
whom he had made a treaty of peace, there was nothing that ought to
hinder him from recovering those lands which he could prove to have
belonged in former times to his ancestors.


A.D. 365.

§ 1. So after the winter had passed off quietly, the two emperors in
perfect harmony, one having been formally elected, and the other having
been admitted to share that honour, though chiefly in appearance, having
traversed Thrace, arrived at Nissa, where in the suburb which is known
as Mediana, and is three miles from the city, they divided the counts
between them as if they were going to separate.

2. To the share of Valentinian, by whose will everything was settled,
there fell Jovinus, who had lately been promoted by Julian to be the
commander of the forces in Gaul, and Dagalaiphus, on whom Jovian had
conferred a similar rank; while Victor was appointed to follow Valens to
the east: and he also had originally been promoted by the decision of
Julian; and to him was given Ariathæus as a colleague. For Lupicinus,
who in like manner had sometime before been appointed by Jovian to
command the cavalry, was defending the eastern districts.

3. At the same time Equitius received the command of the army of
Illyricum, with the rank not of general but of count; and Serenianus,
who sometime before had retired from the service, now, being a citizen
of Pannonia, returned to it, and joined Valens as commander of the
cohort of his guards. This was the way in which these affairs were
settled, and in which the troops were divided.

4. After this, when the two brothers entered Sirmium, they divided their
courts also, and Valentinian as the chief took Milan, while Valens
retired to Constantinople.

5. Sallust, with the authority of prefect, governed the East, Mamertinus
Italy with Africa and Illyricum, and Germanianus the provinces of Gaul.

6. It was in the cities of Milan and Constantinople that the emperors
first assumed the consular robes. But the whole year was one of heavy
disaster to the Roman state.

7. For the Allemanni burst through the limits of Germany, and the cause
of their unusual ferocity was this. They had sent ambassadors to the
court, and according to custom they were entitled to regular fixed
presents, but received gifts of inferior value; which, in great
indignation, they threw away as utterly beneath them. For this they were
roughly treated by Ursatius, a man of a passionate and cruel temper, who
at that time was master of the offices; and when they returned and
related, with considerable exaggeration, how they had been treated, they
roused the anger of their savage countrymen as if they had been despised
and insulted in their persons.

8. About the same time, or not much later, Procopius attempted a
revolution in the east; and both these occurrences were announced to
Valentinian on the same day, the 1st of November, as he was on the point
of making his entry into Paris.

9. He instantly sent Dagalaiphus to make head against the Allemanni,
who, when they had laid waste the land nearest to them, had departed to
a distance without bloodshed. But with respect to the measures necessary
to crush the attempt of Procopius before it gained any strength, he was
greatly perplexed, being made especially anxious by his ignorance
whether Valens were alive or dead, that Procopius thus attempted to make
himself master of the empire.

10. For Equitius, as soon as he heard the account of the tribune
Antonius, who was in command of the army in the interior of Dacia,
before he was able to ascertain the real truth of everything, brought
the emperor a plain statement of what had taken place.

11. On this Valentinian promoted Equitius to the command of a division,
and resolved on retiring to Illyricum to prevent a rebel who was already
formidable from overrunning Thrace and then carrying an hostile invasion
into Pannonia. For he was greatly terrified by recollecting recent
events, considering how, not long before, Julian, despising an emperor
who had been invariably successful in every civil war, before he was
expected or looked for, passed on from city to city with incredible

12. But his eager desire to return was cooled by the advice of those
about him, who counselled and implored him not to expose Gaul to the
barbarians, who were threatening it; nor to abandon on such a pretence
provinces which were in need of great support. And then prayers were
seconded by embassies from several important cities which entreated him
not in a doubtful and disastrous crisis to leave them wholly undefended,
when by his presence he might at once deliver them from the greatest
dangers, by the mere terror which his mighty name would strike into the

13. At last, having given much deliberation to what might be most
advisable, he adopted the opinion of the majority, and replied that
Procopius was the foe only of himself and his brother, but the Allemanni
were the enemies of the whole Roman world; and so he determined in the
mean time not to move beyond the frontier of Gaul.

14. And advancing to Rheims, being also anxious that Africa should not
be suddenly invaded, he appointed Neotherius, who at that time was only
a secretary, but who afterwards became a consul, to go to the protection
of that country; and with him Masaucio, an officer of the domestic
guard, being induced to add him by the consideration that he was well
acquainted with the disturbed parts, since he had been brought up there
under his father Cretion, who was formerly Count of Africa; he added
further, Gaudentius, a commander of the Scutarii, a man whom he had long
known, and on whose fidelity he placed entire confidence.

15. Because therefore these sad disturbances arose on both sides at one
and the same time, we will here arrange our account of each separately
in suitable order; relating first what took place in the East, and
afterwards the war with the barbarians; since the chief events both in
the West and the East occurred in the same months; lest, by any other
plan, if we skipped over in haste from place to place, we should present
only a confused account of everything, and so involve our whole
narrative in perplexity and disorder.


§ 1. Procopius was born and bred in Cilicia, of a noble family, and
occupied an advantageous position from his youth, as being a relation of
Julian who afterwards became emperor. He was very strict in his way of
life and morals, reserved and silent; but both as secretary, and
afterwards as tribune distinguishing himself by his services in war,
and rising gradually to the highest rank. After the death of
Constantius, in the changes that ensued, he, being a kinsman of the
emperor, began to entertain higher aims, especially after he was
admitted to the order of counts; and it became evident that if ever he
were sufficiently powerful, he would be a disturber of the public peace.

2. When Julian invaded Persia he left him in Mesopotamia, in command of
a strong division of troops, giving him Sebastian for his colleague with
equal power; and he was enjoined (as an uncertain rumour whispered, for
no certain authority for the statement could be produced) to be guided
by the course of events, and if he should find the republic in a languid
state, and in need of further aid, to cause himself without delay to be
saluted as emperor.

3. Procopius executed his commission in a courteous and prudent manner;
and soon afterwards heard of the mortal wound and death of Julian, and
of the elevation of Jovian to the supreme authority; while at the same
time an ungrounded report had got abroad that Julian with his last
breath had declared that it was his will that the helm of the state
should be intrusted to Procopius. He therefore, fearing that in
consequence of this report he might be put to death uncondemned,
withdrew from public observation; being especially alarmed after the
execution of Jovian, the principal secretary, who, as he heard, had been
cruelly put to death with torture, because after the death of Julian he
had been named by a few soldiers as one worthy to succeed to the
sovereignty, and on that account was suspected of meditating a

4. And because he was aware that he was sought for with great care, he
withdrew into a most remote and secret district, seeking to avoid giving
offence to any one. Then, finding that his hiding-place was still sought
out by Jovian with increased diligence, he grew weary of living like a
wild beast (since he was not only driven from high rank to a low
station, but was often in distress even for food, and deprived of all
human society); so at last, under the pressure of extreme necessity, he
returned by secret roads into the district of Chalcedon.

5. Where, since that appeared a safer retreat, he concealed himself in
the house of a trusty friend, a man of the name of Strategius, who from
being an officer about the palace had risen to be a senator; crossing
over at times to Constantinople whenever he could do so without being
perceived; as was subsequently learnt from the evidence of this same
Strategius after repeated investigations had been made into the conduct
of all who were accomplices in his enterprise.

6. Accordingly, like a skilful scout, since hardship and want had so
altered his countenance that no one knew him, he collected the reports
that were flying about, spread by many who, as the present is always
grievous, accused Valens of being inflamed with a passion for seizing
what belonged to others.

7. An additional stimulus to his ferocity was the emperor's
father-in-law, Petronius, who, from the command of the Martensian
cohort, had been suddenly promoted to be a patrician. He was a man
deformed both in mind and appearance, and cruelly eager to plunder every
person without distinction; torturing all, guilty and innocent, and then
binding them with fourfold bonds; exacting debts due as far back as the
time of the emperor Aurelian, and grieving if any one escaped without

8. And his natural cruelty was inflamed by this additional incentive,
that as he was enriched by the sufferings of others, he was inexorable,
cruel, hard hearted, and unfeeling, incapable either of doing justice or
of listening to reason. He was more hated than even Cleander, who, as we
read, while prefect in the time of Commodus, oppressed people of all
ranks with his foolish arrogance; and more tyrannical than Plautian, who
was prefect under Severus, and who with more than mortal pride would
have thrown everything into confusion, if he had not been murdered out
of revenge.

9. The cruelties which in the time of Valens, who acted under the
influence of Petronius, closed many houses both of poor men and nobles,
and the fear of still worse impending, sank deep into the hearts of both
the provincials and soldiers, who groaned under the same burdens; and
though the prayers breathed were silent and secret, yet some change of
the existing state of things by the interposition of the supreme Deity
was unanimously prayed for.

10. This state of affairs came home to the knowledge of Procopius, and
he, thinking that if Fate were at all propitious, he might easily rise
to the highest power, lay in wait like a wild beast which prepares to
make its spring the moment it sees anything to seize.

11. And while he was eagerly maturing his plans, the following chance
gave him an opportunity which proved most seasonable. After the winter
was past, Valens hastened into Syria; and when he had reached the
borders of Bithynia he learnt from the accounts of the generals that the
nation of the Goths, who up to that time had never come into collision
with us, and who were therefore very fierce and untractable, were all
with one consent preparing for an invasion of our Thracian frontier.
When he heard this, in order to proceed on his own journey without
hindrance, he ordered a sufficient force of cavalry and infantry to be
sent into the districts in which the inroads of these barbarians were

12. Therefore, as the emperor was now at a distance, Procopius, being
wearied by his protracted sufferings, and thinking even a cruel death
preferable to a longer endurance of them, precipitately plunged into
danger; and not fearing the last extremities, but being wrought up
almost to madness, he undertook a most audacious enterprise. His desire
was to win over the legions known as the Divitenses and the younger
Tungricani, who were under orders to march through Thrace for the coming
campaign, and, according to custom, would stop two days at
Constantinople on their way; and for this object he intended to employ
some of them whom he knew, thinking it safer to rely on the fidelity of
a few, and dangerous and difficult to harangue the whole body.

13. Those whom he selected as emissaries, being secured by the hope of
great rewards, promised with a solemn oath to do everything he desired;
and undertook also for the good-will of their comrades, among whom they
had great influence from their long and distinguished service.

14. As was settled between them, when day broke, Procopius, agitated by
all kinds of thoughts and plans, repaired to the Baths of Anastasia, so
called from the sister of Constantine, where he knew these legions were
stationed; and being assured by his emissaries that in an assembly which
had been held during the preceding night all the men had declared their
adherence to his party, he received from them a promise of safety, and
was gladly admitted to their assembly; where, however, though treated
with all honour by the throng of mercenary soldiers, he found himself
detained almost as a hostage; for they, like the prætorians who after
the death of Pertinax had accepted Julian as their emperor because he
bid highest, now undertook the cause of Procopius in the hope of great
gain to themselves from the unlucky reign he was planning.

15. Procopius therefore stood among them, looking pale and ghost-like;
and as a proper royal robe could not be found, he wore a tunic spangled
with gold, like that of an officer of the palace, and the lower part of
his dress like that of a boy at school; and purple shoes; he also bore a
spear, and carried a small piece of purple cloth in his right hand, so
that one might fancy that some theatrical figure or dramatic
personification had suddenly come upon the stage.

16. Being thus ridiculously put forward as if in mockery of all honours,
he addressed the authors of his elevation with servile flattery,
promising them vast riches and high rank as the first-fruits of his
promotion; and then he advanced into the streets, escorted by a
multitude of armed men; and with raised standards he prepared to
proceed, surrounded by a horrid din of shields clashing with a mournful
clang, as the soldiers, fearing lest they might be injured by stones or
tiles from the housetops, joined them together above their heads in
close order.

17. As he thus advanced boldly the people showed him neither aversion
nor favour; but he was encouraged by the love of sudden novelty, which
is implanted in the minds of most of the common people, and was further
excited by the knowledge that all men unanimously detested Petronius,
who, as I have said before, was accumulating riches by all kinds of
violence, reviving actions that had long been buried, and oppressing all
ranks with the exaction of forgotten debts.

18. Therefore when Procopius ascended the tribunal, and when, as all
seemed thunderstruck and bewildered, even the gloomy silence was
terrible, thinking (or, indeed, expecting) that he had only found a
shorter way to death, trembling so as to be unable to speak, he stood
for some time in silence. Presently when he began, with a broken and
languid voice, to say a few words, in which he spoke of his relationship
to the imperial family, he was met at first with but a faint murmur of
applause from those whom he had bribed; but presently he was hailed by
the tumultuous clamours of the populace in general as emperor, and
hurried off to the senate-house, where he found none of the nobles, but
only a small number of the rabble of the city; and so he went on with
speed, but in an ignoble style, to the palace.

19. One might marvel that this ridiculous beginning, so improvidently
and rashly engaged in, should have led to melancholy disasters for the
republic, if one were ignorant of previous history, and imagined that
this was the first time any such thing had happened. But, in truth, it
was in a similar manner that Andriscus of Adramyttium, a man of the very
lowest class, assuming the name of Philip, added a third calamitous war
to the previous Macedonian wars. Again, while the emperor Macrinus was
at Antioch, it was then that Antoninus Heliogabalus issued forth from
Emessa. Thus also Alexander, and his mother Mamæa, were put to death by
the unexpected enterprise of Maximinus. And in Africa the elder Gordian
was raised to the imperial authority, till, being overwhelmed with agony
at the dangers which threatened him, he put an end to his life by
hanging himself.


§ 1. So the dealers in cheap luxuries, and those who were about the
palace, or who had ceased to serve, and all who, having been in the
ranks of the army, had retired to a more tranquil life, now embarked in
this unusual and doubtful enterprise, some against their will, and
others willingly. Some, however, thinking anything better than the
present state of affairs, escaped secretly from the city, and hastened
with all speed to the emperor's camp.

2. They were all outstripped by the amazing celerity of Sophronius, at
that time a secretary, afterwards prefect of Constantinople, who reached
Valens as he was just about to set out from Cæsarea in Cappadocia, in
order, now that the hot weather of Cilicia was over, to go to Antioch;
and having related to him all that had taken place, brought him, though
wholly amazed and bewildered at so doubtful and perplexing a crisis,
back into Galatia to encounter the danger before it had risen to a head.

3. While Valens was pushing forward with all speed, Procopius was using
all his energy day and night, producing different persons who with
cunning boldness pretended that they had arrived, some from the east,
some from Gaul, and who reported that Valentinian was dead, and that
everything was easy for the new and favoured emperor.

4. And because enterprises suddenly and wantonly attempted are often
strengthened by promptness of action, and in order to neglect nothing,
Nebridius, who had been recently promoted through the influence of
Petronius to be prefect of the prætorium in the place of Sallust, and
Cæsarius, the prefect of Constantinople, were at once thrown into
prison; and Phronemius was intrusted with the government of the city,
with the customary powers; and Euphrasius was made master of the
offices, both being Gauls, and men of known accomplishments and good
character. The government of the camp was intrusted to Gomoarius and
Agilo, who were recalled to military service with that object--a very
ill-judged appointment, as was seen by the result.

5. Now because Count Julius, who was commanding the forces in Thrace,
was feared as likely to employ the troops at the nearest stations to
crush the rebels if he received information of what was being done, a
vigorous measure was adopted; and he was summoned to Constantinople by
letter, which Nebridius, while still in prison, was compelled to write,
as if he had been appointed by Valens to conduct some serious measures
in connection with the movements of the barbarians; and as soon as he
arrived he was seized and kept in close custody. By this cunning
artifice the warlike tribes of Thrace were brought over without
bloodshed, and proved a great assistance to this disorderly enterprise.

6. After this success, Araxius, by a court intrigue, was made prefect of
the prætorium, as if at the recommendation of Agilo, his son-in-law.
Many others were admitted to various posts in the palace, and to the
government of provinces; some against their will, others voluntarily,
and even giving bribes for their promotion.

7. And, as often happens in times of intestine commotion, some men, from
the very dregs of the populace, rose to a high position, led by
desperate boldness and insane expectations; while, on the contrary,
others of noble birth fell from the highest elevation down to exile and

8. When by these and similar acts the party of Procopius seemed firmly
established, the next thing was to assemble a sufficient military force;
and that was easily managed, though sometimes, in times of public
disorder, a failure here has hindered great enterprises, and even some
which had a lawful origin.

9. The divisions of cavalry and infantry which were passing through
Thrace were easily gained over, and being kindly and liberally treated,
were collected into one body, and at once presented the appearance of an
army; and being excited by magnificent promises, they swore with solemn
oaths fidelity to Procopius, promising to defend him with unswerving

10. For a most seasonable opportunity of gaining them over was found;
because he carried in his arms the little daughter of Constantius, whose
memory was still held in reverence, himself also claiming relationship
with Julian. He also availed himself of another seasonable incident,
namely, that it was while Faustina, the mother of the child, was present
that he had received the insignia of the imperial rites.

11. He employed also another expedient (though it required great
promptitude); he chose some persons, as stupid as they were rash, whom
he sent to Illyricum, relying on no support except their own impudence;
but also well furnished with pieces of gold stamped with the head of the
new emperor, and with other means suited to win over the multitude. But
these men were arrested by Equitius, who was the commander of the forces
in that country, and were put to death by various methods.

12. And then, fearing similar attempts by Procopius, he blocked up the
three narrowest entrances into the northern province; one through Dacia,
along the course of the different rivers; another, and that the most
frequented, through the Succi; and the third through Macedonia, which is
known as the Acontisma. And in consequence of these precautions the
usurper was deprived of all hope of becoming master of Illyricum, and
lost one great resource for carrying on the war.

13. In the mean time Valens, overwhelmed with the strange nature of this
intelligence, and being already on his return through Gallo-Græcia,
after he had heard what had happened at Constantinople, advanced with
great diffidence and alarm; and as his sudden fears deprived him of his
usual prudence, he fell into such despondency that he thought of laying
aside his imperial robes as too heavy a burden; and in truth he would
have done so if those about him had not hindered him from adopting so
dishonourable a resolution. So, being encouraged by the opinions of
braver men, he ordered two legions, known as the Jovian and the
Victorian, to advance in front to storm the rebel camp.

14. And when they approached, Procopius, who had returned from Nicæa, to
which city he had lately gone with the legion of Divitenses and a
promiscuous body of deserters, which he had collected in a few days,
hastened to Mygdus on the Sangarius.

15. And when the legions, being now prepared for battle, assembled
there, and while both sides were exchanging missiles as if wishing to
provoke an attack, Procopius advanced by himself into the middle, and
under the guidance of favourable fortune, he remarked in the opposite
ranks a man named Vitalianus (it is uncertain whether he had known him
before), and having given him his hand and embraced him, he said, while
both armies were equally astonished.

16. "And is this the end of the ancient fidelity of the Roman armies,
and of the oaths taken under the strictest obligations of religion! Have
you decided, O gallant men, to use your swords in defence of strangers,
and that a degenerate Pannonian should undermine and upset everything,
and so enjoy a sovereign power which he never even ventured to picture
to himself in his prayers, while we lament over your ill-fortune and our
own. Follow rather the race of your own noble princes which is now in
arms, not with the view of seizing what does not belong to it, but with
the hope of recovering its ancestral possessions and hereditary

17. All were propitiated by this conciliatory speech, and those who had
come with the intention of fighting now readily lowered their standards
and eagles, and of their own accord came over to him; instead of
uttering their fearful yells